Over the past couple of years, schools have shifted constantly to accommodate the lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As online learning and different e-learning methods become more common throughout the world, some governments have taken steps to implement the new curriculum into government policies. Similar changes have been implemented into the curriculum for high school students in Ontario, Canada.
First introduced in 2019, the plan has finally been put into effect. The Ontario government announced that high school students in the province would be required to complete two mandatory online courses in order to graduate. In the original announcement, Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, stated that the province is trying to demonstrate its reasonability.
The students graduating in the 2023-2024 school year, would be the first group that would be required to complete the two online courses. The purpose of this policy was to allow students more course options and flexibility throughout their high school lives.
Now, in 2022, this plan has been set in motion. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education released Policy/Program Memorandum 167 (PPM), mandating that, to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students must earn at least two online learning credits. However, the PPM also mandates that school boards provide families with a procedure that allows students to opt-out of the requirement altogether, and do all their courses in person. Current grade 10 students, and those in the years below them, are affected by this requirement; current grade 11 and 12 high school students are not expected to complete the courses or the opt-out form.
These two credits do not add to the current requirements of high school students in Ontario. In order to graduate, students are required to have achieved 30 credits in their four years of high school. With the new policy implemented, students will have to do 28 credits of regular school learning and 2 credits of online learning.
Among others, this planned legislation requires various things from schools. Firstly, it requires school boards to permanently offer synchronous e-learning for elementary and secondary school students for those that would prefer this option. Additionally, school boards are required to offer synchronous remote learning when schools are closed for such reasons as snow days.
The new legislation is in place to help students allow for more flexibility and time in their lives. While it is ‘mandatory’, students still have the option to decline the online courses and complete all their high school credits in person, giving them an equal choice to choose what will benefit them the most.
CBC News. “Ontario High School Students Must Take 2 Mandatory Online Courses before Graduation .” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 21 Nov. 2019, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/high-school-students-mandatory-online-courses-graduation-1.5368305.
“Major Changes Coming to Online Learning in Ontario.” People for Education, 14 Feb. 2022, www.peopleforeducation.ca/our-work/major-changes-coming-to-online-learning-in-ontario/.
“Mandatory Elearning Graduation Requirement and Opt-out Information.” Mandatory ELearning Graduation Requirement and Opt-out Information - Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, 24 Feb. 2022, www.ocdsb.ca/news/mandatory_e_learning_graduation_requirement#:~:text=The%20eLearning%20credits%20are%20included,a%20total%20of%2030%20credits.