Ontario introduces financial literacy component for high school graduates

Starting in 2025, Ontario students will be required to pass a financial literacy test to graduate. As Tina Yazdani reports, while teachers see the merit, there are concerns about the implementation and timing. 

The province is modernizing high school diploma requirements for the first time in 25 years and announcing a financial literacy component students will need in order to graduate.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce revealed the details at a press conference on Thursday.

The province’s financial literacy graduation requirement will ensure students graduate from Ontario high schools with what the government calls “literacy and practical financial literacy skills.” Starting in 2025, students will be required to score 70 per cent or higher in their Grade 10 math course to meet the specific requirement. 

The Ford government also announced that it will standardize EQAO Grade 9 Math scores, making them 10 per cent or more of a student’s final mark, and new career coaching for Grade 9 and 10 students.

“Too many parents, employers and students themselves tell me that students are graduating without sufficient financial literacy and basic life skills,” said Minister Lecce.

Ontario’s education minister said the province’s financial literacy assessment graduation requirement is designed to ensure students have the skills and knowledge to create and manage a household budget, save up to purchase a home, learn to invest wisely and protect themselves from financial fraud. 

“As we go back to basics in the classroom, we will introduce Ontario’s first financial literacy graduation requirement, along with the return of modernized home economics education,” added Minister Lecce.

“By elevating life skills in the classroom, along with better career education and higher math standards for educators, we are setting up every student for life-long success. Our bottom line: ensuring students graduate with practical learning that leads them to better jobs and bigger paycheque.”

Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaks to journalists at the Queen’s Park Legislature in Toronto on Dec. 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young.

The other suite of reforms made to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) include consultation on life skills, the return of home economics education, and ensuring new teachers have basic competency in math. The government said teacher applicants to the Ontario College of Teachers must pass the Math Proficiency Test beginning in February 2025.

Government officials will begin consultations with parents and experts this fall on what practical life skills students should learn in school.

“We will not take the well-being of young Ontarians for granted,” said Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. “This is a step in the right direction to ensure our children and grandchildren learn the basics of financial literacy and responsibility that will help them prepare for the future.”

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