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Career exploration program gets provincial approval

April 5, 2016 ATA News Staff
A new program of studies will introduce students in grades 5 to 9 to subjects like computer programming, robotics, culinary arts, fashion and the trades. (Canadian Press Images/Jason Franson)

A new career and technology program will help students in grades 5 to 9 sample a broad range of learning experiences, said Alberta Teachers’ Association president Mark Ramsankar.

Alberta Education announced March 23 that Education Minister David Eggen had approved the new curriculum that’s been in development since 2009. Ramsankar was on hand for the announcement.

“CTF will allow students the ­opportunity to explore a wide world of skills and aptitudes, while empowering teachers to connect learning outcomes in all school subjects to students’ ­diverse interests,” he said. “This type of student engagement creates powerful teaching and learning in schools.”

Called Career and Technology Foundations (CTF), the new curriculum takes effect in the 2016/17 school year and will help students begin planning their careers before they enter high school.

“As we take steps to build a more resilient, diversified economy, it’s critical that we offer students more opportunities to start planning for rewarding careers as early as possible,” Eggen said in a news release.

“This program helps students explore their interests, learn from industry professionals, and better understand their career options before entering high school. It also encourages creativity and innovation from students, teachers and the community.”

With CTF, students develop critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills through hands-on learning within occupational, practical and community settings, Eggen said.

Some schools in the province have been using a preliminary version of the CTF program of studies to introduce students to courses like robotics, computer programming, culinary arts, fashion and the trades. Their input and feedback has helped ensure that CTF can be available in all classrooms and adapted for francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, Eggen said.

CTF is being developed in French and English and will be provincially implemented in both languages at the same time, he said. The announcement didn’t include any funding commitments. Eggen said Alberta Education is partnering with schools, communities, post-secondary institutions and industry to offer a wide range of exciting and rewarding learning opportunities.

“Programs like CTF remain a vital way to engage students and encourage them to finish high school,” he said. ❚

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