Implementing a better curriculum and education system will help combat poverty and inequality.
By Sarah Warry-Poljanski
Published April 11, 2016
In Ontario, we are watching the rate of poverty, inequity, and inequality grow faster and higher than in previous times. Studies and statistics have clearly and continuously indicated a correlation between an individual's level of education and their quality of life.
Statistics show that those with higher levels of education are more likely to acquire better paying jobs, and secure more steady employment. Individuals with higher incomes also tend to have a better quality of life, live longer, and are healthier in general.
In today's society, much of our focus falls on to reactive based "solutions" towards poverty. It is very rare that we see a large range of preventative measures being practiced to tackle the issues of poverty before they start.
In Ontario, and the rest of Canada, we are at liberty to be able to take advantage of and reform our education system to do just this.
The government of Ontario has recently issued plans to remove and/or lower tuition for students who come from lower income families. This initiative, which if planned for and executed properly, may alleviate some of the roadblocks that students face when trying to move forward and build better lives for themselves.
What the Ontario Government is missing, however, is that before we solely focus on post-secondary education as a means of alleviating poverty, we should also incorporate a plan for the students in the elementary and secondary levels as well.
A steady foundation needs to be laid for our children to build on, and a concrete education should be priority number one.
A heavy emphasis should be placed on reading, writing, and basic arithmetic more than anything else during the early elementary years. After mastering these skills, students will be able to successfully move on to other areas of math and language in a steady state of succession.
By mastering each skill one after the other, it will help strengthen their skills and offer a better understanding of the operations and formulas being taught and used.
After offering strong skill sets in math and language, students should move on to areas such as science and technology, geography and history, arts and music, health and physical education, civics and humanities, and hopefully a re-introduction of home economics and mechanical studies. Programming in finances wouldn't hurt either.
With a wholesome well-rounded education offered during the elementary and secondary grades, students will then be able to move forward with ease when taking more in-depth courses and making choices for their career paths. Entry into post-secondary education, the trades, entrepreneurship, and/or employment should be more easily attained after graduation.
Under this model, if planned and executed properly, and with moderate oversight and changes when needed, the rate of poverty may be heavily diminished. When the need for reactive programming in education and skills training is lowered, more focus and larger financial commitments can be made in the areas of addiction and mental health, and other healthcare services.
By tying in and focusing on the entirety of poverty and the issues which create it, we can better solve the issues before they start and have a clearer picture of what to do in reactive situations.
So before we give ourselves a pat on the back because of the proposed changes coming, we need to humble ourselves and realize this is just the beginning to a long road ahead.
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