Any proposed changes in graduation requirements at B.C. schools should be focused on producing more job-ready teenagers, says the president of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.
“For the most part, I think that our members maybe are a little bit concerned with the shortage of skilled labour in the region,” said Campbell Watt.
His group is among a diverse audience that’s been asked to attend a meeting later this month in Penticton that will form part of a province-wide conversation on graduation requirements. Similar meetings will be held around B.C.
Penticton Secondary School vice-principal Myron Dueck is leading the effort in this region, and seeking input from the business community, educators, parents, students and civic leaders. People are being asked generally what they think students should know or understand by the time they leave high school, and how the school curriculum should teach communication skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, plus personal and social responsibility.
“We say we want we want social responsibility and communication skills,” Dueck said. “How do you propose we do that?”
Others may desire more graduates with some trades training, he continued, and that’s equally relevant.
“You want the person from the business community to say: This is what I need to have.”
Watt, the chamber president, said members in general are looking to fill the skilled-labour gap, while those in the industrial sector seem to want to fast-track trades training.
“If the school district’s looking at this, that’s fantastic,” Watt said.
“Anything that we can do enhancing skills and creating jobs is a something we’re all in favour of.”
Dueck said he will compile the feedback he receives and submit a report to the Ministry of Education later this fall. The review of graduation requirements is part of the larger B.C. Education Plan, which calls for a top-to-bottom review of the education system that is seeking to create a more adaptable approach to learning to better prepare students for their entry into today’s world.
The local meeting goes Sept. 27 from 4-6 p.m. in the library at Penticton Secondary. Attendees are asked to RSVP by contacting Dueck at 250-770-7550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.