© MCC photo
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is expressing “deep concern’’ over poor student performance in Prince Edward Island.
The chamber voiced alarm over the recently released results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that showed Island students ranked last in the country in math, reading and science.
P.E.I. was the only Canadian jurisdiction to perform below the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average.
“Our educational system is a fundamental pillar for the growth and prosperity of the province,’’ chamber president Keith O’Neill said in a statement.
“Addressing the challenges currently within the system, particularly the low level outcomes, is of the outmost importance. This action is a priority for our members for a number of reasons.’’
The economic viability of a province, notes the chamber, is directly linked to the quality of its workforce.
In order to compete in today’s global economy, it argues, students must have access to a top-level education system.
“Further, the quality of our K-12 education system is a key decision-making criterion for highly educated professionals considering a career move to P.E.I., and for immigrant families contemplating staying here,’’ the chamber adds.
“With the looming demographic shift being faced by P.E.I.,
this focus on education, retention and recruitment will become even more critical to our continued growth and prosperity.’’
The chamber notes that national and international research demonstrates the level of educational attainment within a community has a very direct impact on many factors, including its socio-economic status, wealth-creating potential, crime levels, and the civic mindedness of its residents.
In its brief to the P.E.I. Governance Commission in 2011, the chamber noted that Prince Edward Island’s education system should be based first on
leadership that demands excellence at all levels within the system.
“We can no longer accept mediocrity and consistently low outcomes scores,’’ says
“Necessary remedial action must be taken.’’