Dropout risk higher in low-income communities: survey
Published Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:38AM EDT
As young Canadians across the country are graduating high school this month, a new survey depicts a troubling future for youth in certain communities.
According the survey commissioned by non-profit organization Pathways to Education, the dropout risk for students is much higher in low-income communities.
More than 400,000 youth in marginalized communities are at risk of dropping out because they aren’t getting the tools they need to graduate, according to Pathways to Education President and CEO David Hughes.
“There are pockets of communities across this country where we are experiencing dropout rates of 40 per cent and some places as high as 80 per cent or higher,” Hughes told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday.
But Pathways to Education is trying to change that. The organization has been helping troubled youth graduate from high school since 2001.
One of their main goals is to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the high school dropout rate.
Students participating in the program receive one-on-one tutoring and mentoring. They are offered support in terms of school work, family and community relations.
In the survey commissioned by Pathways in May, 74 per cent if Canadians cited the lack of education as a root cause of poverty and 89 per cent said Canada should make high school graduation a national priority.
Canadians also cited parental guidance (82 per cent), school engagement (67 per cent), tutoring (53 per cent) and financial means (49 per cent) as key factors in ensuring a positive outcome to education.
Teenagers living in marginalized communities often lack access to such resources.
For middle to low income families, it can be hard for them to cover school-related costs for their kids.
Hughes says Pathways helps financially where they can, providing lunch and bus tickets to students.
He says he hopes that the school-growing culture replaces the sense of hopelessness youth feel in their communities.
“When they graduate, they become a role model in those communities. It’s not just for them, it’s for their entire family and community,” Hughes said.
Wares Fazelyar, now a first-year student at the University of Toronto, joined the Pathways program in Grade 9. He lives in Toronto’s Lawrence Heights neighbourhood and largely attributes the program to his success.
“I can still walk into Pathways and if I have a question about anything, whether it’s school-related, job-related or personal, I know there is someone I can talk to.” Fazelyar said.