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Education Research Highlights

Jan 31, 2020 jjamison

Education Research Highlights

Dream Jobs? Teenagers' Career Aspirations and the Future of Work

Figures from the latest PISA survey of 15-year-olds released last month reveal that career aspirations are less diverse today – as evidenced by the 8 percentage point increase for boys and 4 points for girls – since the PISA survey was carried out in 2000. The profound transformations that have taken place in the world of work over the past two decades have had little impact on the professional aspirations of adolescents, who are now concentrating on a narrower range of professions. This report states that 47% of boys and 53% of girls surveyed in 41 countries plan to work in only one of the ten most popular occupations by the age of 30.

The classic professions of the 20th century (even of the 19th) such as doctor, teacher, veterinarian, business manager, engineer or police officer, continue to nourish the dreams of young people as they did 20 years ago, before the arrival of social media and technological acceleration, such as artificial intelligence, in businesses.

This report finds that the range of occupations that adolescents aspire to pursue is more diverse in countries with well-established vocational training systems. In Germany and Switzerland, for example, less than four in ten young people say they are interested in only these ten traditional professions.


Computing Careers & Disciplines: A Guide for Prospective Students and Career Advisors

CERIC, a national charitable organization advancing career education, recently released a guide to explain the fast-changing field of computing and to inform decision-making around related education and career paths. The guide outlines the following five distinct computing disciplines identified by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): 
  1. Computer science
  2. Computer engineering
  3. Information systems
  4. Information technology
  5. Software engineering

An overview of required courses, sample college and university degrees, and how these disciplines relate to specific job titles is provided. This information can help prospective students better understand what each one of the computing disciplines does, which will help to inform their choice of major selection that best suits their interests and skills. 


Pathways to Education National Survey shows Many Canadians ‘in the Dark’ when it Comes to Issues of High School Dropout Numbers in Low-Income Communities

This survey was commissioned by Pathways to Education Canada, a national charitable organization working to break the cycle of poverty through education across the country. Pathways recently conducted this poll with 2,000 Canadian adults. The results indicate that most Canadians don’t realize how many young people still aren’t graduating from secondary school. For example:

  • More than half the respondents believe that there are fewer than 30,000 students in Canada at risk of dropping out of high school annually when the number is actually ten times that at 300,000. This reflects the number of youth in Canada who are living in poverty and often face significant barriers to education that limit their chances of graduating from high school. 

  • Almost half (46%) of respondents believed a minimal 1% increase in the graduation rate would save the Canadian economy $2.8 million a year. The actual savings would be $7.7 billion a year.

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