Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The world is catching up

Well, you can sure tell which days I am not supply teaching. If you need a hint, try looking for days with multiple posts. :)

Anyway..., I was looking at some information from Statistics Canada on educational attainment, the percentage of people who have obtained a university degree. The good news is that "Canada surpassed 23 of the 30 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2007 regarding the proportion of its population aged 25 to 64 that had a university degree." Further good news is that more young Canadians are getting university educations than older Canadians did, 29% of Canadians aged 25 to 34 versus 21% of Canadians aged 55 to 64.

The bad news is that though our attainment rates are rising, they are not rising as fast as those in other countries. The 21% rate for ages 55 to 64 ranks us fourth out of thirty but the 29% for the age 25 to 34 bracket only ranks us twelfth out of 30. Other countries are catching up. This is worrisome.

Even more worrisome to me is that China and India, with about 20% of the world's population combined, are not listed because they are not members of the OECD. How fast are their university graduation rates rising?

All this makes me feel even more strongly that our education system has to keep working towards fully educating every student. Competition for jobs and opportunities is now world-wide because of the "flattening" of the world (read The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman if you want to know more). We cannot afford to be in the position of having a population where a larger percentage than other countries cannot compete for jobs and opportunities because of a lack of education.

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