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New Grade 11 and 12 curriculum better prepares students for college, university and workplace, Janet Ecker says

TORONTO – (June 2, 2000) Education Minister Janet Ecker today released the province's new Grade 11 and 12 curriculum -- the final step in developing Ontario's new rigorous high school curriculum. The new Grade 11 and 12 curriculum maintains the strong emphasis on English, science and math established in the earlier grades. 

"This completes the most comprehensive modernization and overhaul of Ontario's Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that has ever taken place," Ecker said today at the offices of the Certified General Accountants Association of Ontario. "It will also better prepare students for their futures whether they plan to go to university, college or the workplace after they graduate. 

"This is an important milestone in our government's reform of Ontario's publicly funded education system," the Minister said. "We are putting in place a rigorous new curriculum with consistent standards and clear expectations about what should be taught right across the province. This ensures that all students whether in Sioux Lookout, Windsor or Toronto receive the knowledge and skills they need." 

The new Grade 11 and 12 curriculum is designed to ensure that students are well prepared for their futures with a solid foundation in English, math and science and that they have the knowledge and skills they need whether their destination is university, college or the workplace. The new high school curriculum also provides a new emphasis on Canadian history and politics; more comprehensive technology programs which include material on such topics as workplace standards; business courses with an emphasis on current business practices; and drama courses that cover the history of Canadian drama as well as theatre training. 

"This is what educators, parents and employers told us students need in order to be ready for the rapidly changing economy," Ecker said. 

Colleges, universities and employers will be assured that all graduates from Ontario's new high school program are fully prepared to be successful. The new Grade 11 and 12 courses have been developed by experienced teachers and curriculum specialists working in close collaboration with college and university professors, representatives from the business community and potential employers. 

"Anyone concerned about high standards for educational instruction will embrace the detail and rigour of the new curriculum," said Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute, an organization dedicated to improving the knowledge of Canadian history. 

Parents can be assured that their children will receive the support they need to meet the higher standards set out in the new curriculum, Ecker said. 

"We are providing $270 million to support teachers and students as the new four-year high school program is implemented," Ecker said. "Teachers are being provided with training on the new curriculum, for example, as well as samples of courses of study." 

"We are also releasing this curriculum today, more than a year before it is taught in schools, so school boards and teachers have the time they need to prepare to provide this new material to students," Ecker said. 

Students now in Grade 9 began Ontario's new high school curriculum last September. They will be the first to take the new Grade 11 curriculum starting in the fall of 2001. And these students will be the first to graduate from the new four-year high school program in 2003. 

"This new curriculum is part of Ontario's plan to improve the quality of education in the province," Ecker said. "Today, in releasing the Grade 11 and 12 curriculum, we are taking another step to make sure Ontario students will be well prepared for their futures in the work world and the community." 


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