News Release Archive

New high school graduation requirements will better prepare
students for the workforce, post-secondary studies and the

Education and Culture Minister Robbie Harrison announced today
that new requirements in core areas like mathematics, science and
technology will be balanced with other essentials like language
arts, fine arts and social studies. More program choices through
cooperative education, local programs and independent studies
will support all students in reaching their full potential.

"Students need a solid grounding in mathematics, science and
technology, not only to help them find jobs, but to be successful
in their personal and community lives," said Mr. Harrison.
"However, every student has individual needs, interests and
abilities. We are challenging students to be the very best they
can be, while providing more choices and more support to help all
students succeed."

These changes, based on consultation last winter, will be phased
in so students and schools have time to plan. "We want to involve
our partners in education every step of the way," said Mr.
Harrison. "Again, our goal is to help all students be successful
in school and after graduation. This can only be accomplished
through proper planning in cooperation with classroom teachers
and other partners."

The following credits will be required for students beginning
Grade 10 in September 1997: two mathematics, compared to one now;
two science, compared to one now; and two others from technology,
math or science, which is a new requirement. A full fine arts
credit will also be required for graduation for the first time in
Nova Scotia. Current compulsory requirements will continue, three
language arts, one global studies, one social studies, one-half
credit in physically active lifestyles and one-half credit in
career and life management.

The department supports opportunities for students to learn a
second language. Beginning next September, English or French as a
second language will be required at junior high. Where available,
Gaelic or Mi'kmaq can also fulfill the second language
requirement. At the high school level, all students will be
encouraged to continue studying a second language.

Doors are opening between the classroom and workplace. For
example, cooperative education and local programs tailored to
meet the individual interests and abilities of students are
available in some schools, but not equitably across the province.
By March 1997, recommendations will be prepared on how to deliver
enhanced cooperative and other course options as part of the high
school program across the province.

Students with particular interests and abilities will have the
option of using two independent study credits, instead of one
currently, toward their high school certificate. "We want
students to have more choices, based on their interests and
abilities, and to learn how to learn, using the wealth of
information now at their fingertips," said Mr. Harrison.

Some students have had opportunity to develop skills or gain
knowledge in fine arts, physical education, mathematics or other
programs outside the classroom. Challenge for credit will become
an option for these students to recognize, and not repeat, these
prior skills and knowledge. A challenge for credit policy will be
developed in consultation with teachers, school boards and other
education partners. Challenge for credit for music, art and drama
will be piloted in schools in January 1997, and for additional
courses beginning September 1997.

Last winter, a discussion paper on graduation requirements was
distributed to approximately 2,000 groups and individuals,
including all high schools, the Nova Scotia School Boards
Association, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, home and school
associations, post-secondary institutions and employers.
Education partners will continue to be consulted on policy issues
related to the revised graduation requirements.


Contact: Donna MacDonald  902-424-2615

EDITORS NOTE: A backgrounder and the names of people outside the
department familiar with this topic are available to provide
comment to media by calling Donna MacDonald 902-424-2615. Copies
of the backgrounder are also available by calling Communications
N.S. at 902-424-4492 or 1-800-670-4357.

trp                      Sept. 19, 1996 - 10:30 a.m.