Ontario’s Government versus High School Students

            Everyone has heard that high school is what you make of it. High school is in fact what you make of it, but it is also a time of great change for teenagers. They say high school is the best part of growing up and being a teenager and it is where we have many new experiences. 

           Being a teenager is hard, even more so being an Ontario high school student in 2021. Earning a good education is not easy especially during the ongoing pandemic. 

           Students from Ontario know that their high school time is the critical period in their life when they form their outlook on life. Students also discover what they want to do in the future, all while being facilitated by the government, meaning the government is supposed to oversee and contribute greatly to education, as they are training future leaders.

            While campaigning for their electoral positions, the government makes promises to high school students and unsuspecting parents for a better educational system year after year. But, is there proof to show that they are working, or are these just empty promises?

            In light of the pandemic, the Ontario government unveiled more than two billion dollars to help keep schools safe and support learning recovery and renewal. The government also invested over 85.5 million dollars to help the education sector, switching the educational system to synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning, but there has been little to no work done to improve the system. Courses were shut down and class sizes doubled while students were forced to learn a three-month curriculum in a month and a half, leaving high school students stunned and overwhelmed. Students are forced to learn new topics each day and master them by the end of the class without any time to process the course materials.

           The limitations of this type of learning is overwhelming for both teachers and students. Students hand in assignments and will get a passing grade, but did we even learn anything? 

           High school students in Ontario will grow up and struggle to face the world because they were rushed through the academic curriculum and given the opportunity for in-depth learning. 

           As the workload on high school students increases, the youth’s mental health and social skills decrease, all while the government fiddles with handling the pandemic. Quality of mental health is being looked down upon as high school students are believed to be “growing up”. Adults blame teenage depression and other mental health concerns on they blame it on outside factors that increase the rate of dropouts and suicides for teens, and lack to find blame in academic stress. Teens have resulted in unsafe ways to cope and those who have not been able to control their mental health are devastatingly lost. 

         There is much that has to be done to reduce the number of students that fail to earn their high school diplomas. Teens who were struggling both mentally or educationally before the pandemic are at an even greater disadvantage now that the government has no concrete plan. Students who have learning disabilities also suffer tremendously, as it is now ever harder to keep up with their classes. Graduating high school students will not have a traditional graduation ceremony because of the recent provincial lockdowns in 2021, having no official ceremonial passing rite to the post-secondary world.

        High school life is indeed a one-of-a-kind experience. Students treasure their best memories throughout the rest of their lives. Just as there is no single cause behind the high rates of school dropouts, there is no single remedy for the current problems that high schoolers are currently facing. It requires a multifaceted approach that incorporates both students, and the government also.  Will the future of these high schoolers be bright, or will this be a failed generation? 



“OPINION | Mental Health Issues Faced by an Alarming Number of Men Should Be Made a Focus of National Public Policy” www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-men-mental-health-1.5871935.

“Ontario shuts down in-person classes again amid surge in new COVID-19 cases” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-april-12-2021-update-1.5983807.

“Synchronous instruction is hot right now, but is it sustainable?.” https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/29/synchronous-instruction-hot-right-now-it-sustainable.