Learning is a lifelong process. It begins well before our children go to school and continues well past their transition into a career. It takes place in schools and formal settings and beyond their four walls. In today’s knowledge driven economy there is always more to learn – regardless of your age and where learning takes place.
Just as Nova Scotia businesses must compete in the global marketplace, so too must the educational outcomes for our students be measured against a world standard. But the world has changed and so too has what we must know to succeed in it.
When the One Nova Scotia Commission spoke with people across our province, it heard we must:
- Orient school curriculum to help students be more job ready
- Give young people the skills they need to create their own work
- Prepare youth to transition from school to work
- Connect students to the business community sooner
Success in today’s world involves being a self-starter, lifelong learner, innovator, and creative problem solver. More focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and promotion of, and education in, entrepreneurism and innovation can help give our kids the start and skills they need.
Nova Scotia is introducing Brilliant Labs to all eight school boards across the province. Brilliant Labs takes a hands-on approach in learning spaces and workshops to teach school age children entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity — important building blocks in a knowledge economy.
Jeff Wilson, executive director of Brilliant Labs, explains it: “This is about encouraging students to think of new solutions and look at challenges from a different perspective. Through hands-on learning, students get to express their creativity, find innovative new ways to use technology to solve problems and put their ideas into action.”
This is an example of one of the initiatives the One Nova Scotia Coalition believes will help create opportunities for youth by equipping them with the right skills.
Major changes are also moving forward to modernize Nova Scotia’s P-12 school system. And our universities and community college are now offering exciting programs that focus on entrepreneurialism, start-ups, technology and innovation.
These are important steps forward. But like all the challenges our province faces, sectors, businesses, organizations, communities and individuals across Nova Scotia will also need to collaborate to achieve a new vision for our kids and our province. To learn more about how everyone can take part, explore the Strive Together Partnership
One Nova Scotia Goals and Game Changers
Goal 7: Labour Force Participation Rate – Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia will have a labour force participation rate at least as high as the Canadian rate, bringing more than 25,000 Nova Scotians into permanent attachment to the labour market. (The Nova Scotia rate is currently 63.4% compared to the Canadian rate of 66.4%).
Goal 8: Employment Rate – First Nations and African Nova Scotians
The employment rate (i.e., percent of the working age population currently employed or “officially unemployed”) for Aboriginal and African Nova Scotians will be equal to the provincial average. (The rate is currently 62% for African Nova Scotians and 53% for First Nations people, compared to the provincial rate of 68%).
Goal 9: Youth Employment
Nova Scotia’s youth unemployment rate (currently 19.5%) will be at or better than the national rate in that year (currently 14.0%)
Goal 10: Post-Secondary Education and Training
The proportion of Nova Scotia’s working age population with a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, including apprenticeship completion, will have increased from the current 55% to 65%
Game Changer VII: Excellence in Education and Training
One of the most notable aspects of the Commission’s public engagement activities was the consistency with which business and community spokespersons called for improvements in public education to better prepare our youth for transition from school to work in a knowledge-driven economy….
This will not be an easy task and, following a central theme of this report, demography will figure prominently in our list of challenges. Over the past forty years, P-12 enrolment in Nova Scotia has fallen by nearly 40%. The current school system no longer enjoys economies of scale advantages.
In both rural and inner-city areas, we have too many schools operating below optimal enrolments and the cost of maintaining this infrastructure drains resources away from improvements in quality. Rural communities particularly struggle with the stresses of school closing and longer bussing routes.
The Commission hopes that current efforts to improve the school review process will result in an enhanced willingness and capacity across the province to find the right balance between community needs and the efficient use of resources to deliver high quality learning opportunities. There won’t be a “one size fits all” solution, and we acknowledge the special role schools play in how communities see themselves, particularly at the lower grade levels.
The Commission would also encourage more extensive and creative use of distance delivery and asynchronous learning technologies.