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On Sunday , March 1st, I tuned into the CBC program "Cross Country Check Up" hosted by Rex Murphy. The question that was asked: "Are our young people getting the post secondary education they need?

The vast number of callers, most of whom were young people, voiced their opinions that their education had failed them. Little or no direction from their high school counselors of the choices that were available to them to lead to a meaningful education and a career.

For the most part the University level high school students were advised to go on to university to get a degree because they were too smart to go to a community college to earn a diploma.

The vast majority of students were advised by their counselors to take the Arts/Social Science programs in university. Very few students opted to enroll in Engineering or Computer Science courses because they were considered too hard and too much work.

The students graduated after 3-4 years with a degree- in-hand along with a large debt load of $40,000-60,000 payable to the Ontario Student Aid Program with payments beginning six months after the graduation celebrations are over. Hard to pay the payments owed when one has not learned the necessary skills to be able to find employment.

The university graduates face the dilemma of returning to their alma matter to earn a Masterís degree for more theory or go on to a community college to receive hands on practical experience. Last year the University of Western Ontario was the largest feeder school to Fanshawe College.

The colleges have come of age with thousands of university grads taking one year post graduate co-op studies in programs that lead to a real job. The colleges are proud that their graduates find work directly related to their education within eight months of graduating.

Our post secondary school students and their parents should be informed of the options awaiting them and the long range consequences of their choices. We have a large number of our young people who are the graduates of our education system who find themselves unemployed and dismayed that all of their hard work was for nought.

On the other hand there are employers complaining that they have a large shortage of skilled workers needed to fill the shoes of the thousands of workers who are retiring.

Germany seems to be getting it right with their students encouraged to become skilled workers. The German unemployment rate in Europe is an amazing low 6%. compared to the dismal "PIGS" designation of Portugal, Italy, and Spain where the numbers reach 20% unemployment levels.

Students and their parents have to learn the words, "Caveat Emptor", let the buyer be aware, when they register for a post secondary school education.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com