By Rosemary Counter - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 0 Comments
The gap year was once for sowing wild oats before university. Now, post-degree, it’s about getting a job
University of Guelph undergrad Casey Panning, now 24, was sitting in a Southeast Asian geography class when it occurred to her that she might never see Asia. With vague plans to teach geography, and inspired by a friend who’d spent a semester in Singapore, Panning knew it was now or never.
The gap year—taking a year off school to work, travel or volunteer—has been a pre-university rite of passage in Europe, where it began in Britain in the ’60s and spread to other Commonwealth countries—including Canada. A Statistics Canada survey of about 8,500 high school graduates from 2000 to 2008 found that just 50 per cent had started college or university within the usual three months; 73 per cent had begun in a year’s time; and by 28 months after graduation, 81 per cent of students were attending a post-secondary school.
By Patricia Treble - Monday, September 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
A new ranking of European countries places the Nordic nations at the top of the list. As for the bottom . . .
Since politicians are fond of mouthing platitudes about how learning is essential for growth, development and prosperity, the Bertelsmann foundation decided to analyze which nations backed up those statements with action. This week, the German think tank unveiled the European Lifelong Learning Indicators (ELLI) Index, a measure of learning from cradle to grave that evaluated 23 European Union nations on everything from Internet access to participation rates in job-related training. While Denmark was thrilled with its No. 1 overall place, education-proud Germany was shocked that its 10th-place spot was just above the EU average. Greece, Bulgaria and finally Romania were consigned to the bottom of the pile, along with most of southern and eastern Europe.
The index originated at the Canadian Council on Learning in Ottawa, which has been releasing a comparable domestic survey since 2006, published annually in the “Smartest Cities in Canada” issue of Maclean’s. The statistics that form the basis of the CCL’s Composite Learning Index as well as the ELLI come from four distinct areas of education: vocational learning, formal education, personal growth and social cohesion. By evaluating data on 36 separate indicators, the Bertelsmann foundation wants Europeans to understand that “learning cannot and should not start or end in the classroom,” Ulrich Schoof, a co-writer of the report at Bertelsmann, states. “We learn on the job, during our leisure time, in the community and in our families.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 5:15 AM - 5 Comments
Find where your community stands on the Composite Learning Index
The Canadian Council on Learning has scorecards for over 4,500 cities and communities in Canada with five years worth of results and trends—plus interactive maps and charts to help you compare your city/town to one next door or one on the other side of the country. Find your city/town now.
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM - 44 Comments
Learning across most of the country has stalled. Is your city a bright spot?
A decade ago, urbanists had just about written the obituary for St. John’s, Nfld. The fate of the hard-luck port town, like much of Newfoundland, was wedded to the fisheries. Between 1992, when the cod moratorium was announced, and 2006, the province lost 11 per cent of its population—the youngest, brightest and most productive 11 per cent, as Newfoundlanders will tell you. Everyone figured St. John’s would become a wasteland, because it had such low learning and employment opportunities, says Paul Cappon, president and chief executive of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), an Ottawa-based non-profit that ranks more than 4,500 Canadian cities and communities annually.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM - 32 Comments
A tale of two cities and their lessons of economic resilience
At the headquarters of the Canadian Council on Learning in downtown Ottawa, researchers have an animated chart they use to demonstrate the relationship between learning and the job market.
It’s a standard graph: unemployment rate up the vertical axis, and the CCL’s Composite Learning Index (CLI) across the horizontal. The dots are Canadian cities. And the dots move to show how the cities evolved along both measures from 2006 to 2009.
By Cathy Gulli - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM - 849 Comments
Will yours help you thrive in tough times, or leave you to fall behind? Now, more than ever, it matters.
How dumb do you think Canadians are? The answer may come as an unpleasant surprise. A new report by the Canadian Council on Learning shows that, for the first time since the organization started measuring what it calls “lifelong learning” in communities across the country—which reflects everything from university completion and museum attendance to participation in sports and volunteerism—the national average score has actually dropped. Visit the art gallery? Forget it. Pick up an actual newspaper? No, thanks. Canadian cities, it appears, are getting dumb and dumber. And given that a city’s performance on this lifelong learning index seems to go hand in hand with economic success, some are wondering what this tumble may foreshadow. “Learning plays such an important role in the social and economic resilience of the country that I think we really need to pay attention to this,” says Paul Cappon, president and chief executive of the Ottawa-based non-profit corporation.
Until now, Canada’s score had been on the upswing, from 76 in 2007 to 77 last year. Today that number has dropped to 75, precariously close to the lowest level recorded, which was 73, in 2006. The figures are based on the annual Composite Learning Index, which gives every Canadian community (some 4,719 in all) a score according to how it supports lifelong learning. It’s broadly defined by four categories or “pillars” that were originally developed by UNESCO: learning to know (which encompasses access to schools and literacy levels), learning to live together (religious activity and the level of interaction between people from diverse cultures), learning to do (workplace and vocational training), and learning to be (engagement with the arts, sports, media). And taken together, the categories correspond with economic indicators like unemployment rates and incomes.