For those of you who were asking to read the essay I wrote for the Miss Teen Canada Pageant, I`m posting it here for you. I couldn`t include the footnote but it`s

1 MatonWilliam F., . “Canadian Constitutional Documents.” Constitution act 1982. A Legal History, 1994. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/ca_1982.html>.

All the deleagtes were given the option to write an essay on the Canadian Education System for the chance to win a scholarship and the title Miss Teen Scholastic Achievement 2012. We also had to include our most recent report card, letters of reference, and any awards we recieved.

The Canadian Education System: Flaws and Conquests

               I am a 2011 graduate from Highland Secondary school in the Comox Valley, British Columbia. With fourteen years as a student under my belt, I can assert my opinion of the Canadian Education System; the flaws and the conquests. Prior to my conviction of the system, I would like to state that I hold the Canadian Education System (CES) and its methods in high esteem. The learning system has fully prepared me for a future in academics, in addition to training in discipline, creativity, and morality. Although the system has not reached perfection, it strives to make improvements for students and educators.

                The CES is funded and overseen my federal, provincial, and local governments.  Funding and distribution is overseen at the federal level, while education and curriculum are under provincial jurisdiction and the local government, respectively. I think the fact that the curriculum is collected and prescribed by each province is terrific in its individuality. The curriculum and work load is specified to each provinces needs as opposed to distributing the same lesson plans throughout the country. This gives the students the ability to learn about local events as well as avoid over congested materials whilst still maintaining variety. For example, in Quebec, students must attend a French school up until the end of high school (unless one of their parents previously attended an English-Language school somewhere in Canada). The fact that curriculum falls under province rule allows Quebec students to learn in-depth about their local language and culture, without obliging the rest of Canada to do the same. Our country is so vast and multicultural that individual province curriculum is a mandatory feature in the CES. With wide varieties of landscapes, history, climate, and culture, specifying the curriculum increases the level of learning. On the other hand, regulations involving mandatory French classes have expanded nationwide as of recent years. By the year 2016, minor French classes will be mandatory from grade seven to ten in all provinces. As it stands, those “…who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province, have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.” 1 This mandate is under the Constitution Act, section 23, 1982 and is in my opinion, an excellent way to bring the strong French and English backgrounds of Canada together. It creates a better cultural understanding and maintains a national respect. I was in the French-Immersion program for eight years and although I’m not officially bilingual, I do speak the language fluently. Learning another language opened up a learning style for me that I use to this day. The ability to quickly comprehend new concepts and understandings is borne from learning a new language at a young age.  Not only does it improve learning patterns, but learning a new language also unites our countries’ cultures in peace and understanding. The CES has provided an ideal balance of individuality and unity.

                     The current issues facing the Canadian Education system generally revolve around funding. Many provincial wide strikes have been in action this school year because only 7% of Canada’s GDP is now spent on education. Due to this funding reduction, many educators are facing dismissal. For example, in BC, there will be 700 fewer special needs teachers in the classroom. In September, 8 more children will be in each classroom because of fewer teachers, and seniority has been partially eroded under Bill 22-Education Improvement Act. Education is the foundation of our future and the future progression of our species. To disregard it or to place other things in positions of higher importance is foolish and short-sighted. There will be many educational cuts due to less funding that will negatively impact the students. Even in allowing an open mind towards the situation at hand, I still remain of the opinion that education should take precedent over most government funded organizations. Until now, I was under the impression that education was highly valued in our country because it provides children and young adults with the tools they need to succeed in our society. With larger classrooms, students won’t receive the careful attention they need. Special needs teachers will now have three to four students to care for. This will increase classroom disruption for the other students. In summation, I disagree with the government’s decision to reduce educational funding.

                   Although the CES has provided students with a highly renowned system of learning, there are a few changes that I would make if given the chance. First, I would change the compulsory age to eighteen in all provinces. Currently, only Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick have the compulsory age at eighteen, while the rest of Canada sits at sixteen. I believe that a high school diploma should be mandatory for all Canadians. This will provide everyone with equal opportunities in careers, academia, and life. Currently one out of every ten Canadians does not have a high school diploma. I would like to change those statistics to zero out of every ten Canadians. Another aspect of the CES that needs to change involves the new Native Studies initiatives. Most schools in Canada have recently introduced programs in Native Studies, antiracism, and Aboriginal cultures and crafts. These programs include visits from elders and other community members, content in indigenous languages, aboriginal spirituality, indigenous knowledge of nature, and tours to indigenous heritage sites. The variety of new initiatives in non-assessed subject is an excellent way to bring students closer to the history and cultures of Canada. However, although these classes are offered, most are very limited by the area or region in which students reside. I would increase the amount of government funding to allow students to travel around Canada to participate in these classes. The knowledge they would gain from this experience out competes any in-school assessment-based course. Finally, I would implement drastic changes involving the educational/religious sector of the CES. I don’t agree with separate schools revolving around religious beliefs. All the provinces had educational systems divided by religion, but most have abolished these. Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories are exceptions to this as they still maintain publicly-funded separate district school boards (mostly Catholic or Protestant). I would eliminate all government funded separate religion schools. In our modern day, religion and education should be kept separate, and therefore promote equality in learning. Although I have nothing against private schools revolving around religion, I wouldn’t have the government fund public religious schools anymore. These minor changes that I would implement if given the chance would not impact the CES to the extent of notability, but would, in my opinion, improve education for students nationwide.

                     In conclusion, the CES has accumulated global respect over the past two decades. In spite of cuts in government funding, the CES has maintained a reputation for providing its students and educators with optimal learning and teaching environments. However this being said, there is always room for improvement, and it would be irresponsible of us as a nation to neglect our duty to provide the best possible future for all of our citizens. The fact that Canada is able to offer free, public education to all children is exceptional in itself when compared to the many countries around the world that do not have these options. I consider myself very fortunate to have been borne into a nation where education is a right, and not a privilege

References

http://www.solon.org/Constitutions/Canada/English/ca_1982.html

http://www.nytimes.com/

http://www.canada.gc.ca/home.html

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/charter/page-1.html

http://www.sd71.bc.ca/

Written by: Somer McNeil

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