Approximately 38 per cent of all Canadian high school students are reported not to pursue post-secondary education. This is a problematic statistic in light of the country’s future needs for an educated workforce. Both the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) are actively involved in researching possible solutions to the situation.
A new report released today by the two organizations provides preliminary results from the Future to Discover pilot project. The project, involving 5,400 high school students in New Brunswick and Manitoba, is actively testing interventions to address the fact that career indecision, lack of interest in higher education and financial concerns are most often cited as the barriers that prevent youth from proceeding to a post-secondary program after high school.
Implemented in 51 schools in New Brunswick and Manitoba, Future to Discover (FTD) aims to help high school students develop an interest in post-secondary education, and increase their participation in such programs. The program targets students from low-income families whose parents have little or not post-secondary experience, as research has shown that these students are significantly underrepresented in post-secondary institutions.
FTD is divided into two separate components. The first is Explore Your Horizons, which is a program of career education and labour market information designed to help high school students explore and make decisions regarding their post-secondary and career options. The second component is Learning Accounts, which consists of a monetary incentive of up to $8,000 given to eligible students who successfully complete high school and move on to participate in post-secondary education. Learning Accounts is implemented only in New Brunswick.
The first of a series of three publications reporting on FTD’s progress, the new report presents preliminary findings, looks at the project’s design and implementation, and analyzes the impacts on participants’ attitudes towards school, post-secondary learning, and the challenges – mental, social, and financial – the students face in accessing higher education.