There has been much discussion lately in Tasmania about student retention and attainment in the final years of secondary school.The state government have established programs such as the 11/12 extension of High Schools and a review of 9-12 education to plan for and encourage student retention and attainment. Other groups such as the Education Ambassadors and events such as The Hothouse , represent a community focus on Secondary School completion.
This policy and community activity is in response to a slowly increasing level of TCE (graduation certificate) completion, which reached a disappointing 50.8% in 2015.
In spite of this there is anecdotal evidence that a large proportion of the regional Tasmanian community still view TCE completion as a worthy secondary objective, behind gaining employment.
In response I would like to put forward some reasons why it is important for students to complete year 12 and gain their TCE, even at the expense of a couple of years in the workforce. These comments are based on a brochure produced by the Department of Education.
Increasingly, career opportunities in the future will be based on non-routine problem solving. The best preparation for this is to complete a quality general education including literacy, numeracy, ICT and 21st Century skills such as collaboration, problem solving, knowledge construction etc. Completing secondary education improves these skills.
In the past (last century) most people would enter the workforce and continue working in the same area using the same basic skills throughout their working life. This is no longer the case and most employees will change jobs and industries a number of times. Even within the same job, technology brings changes. Each change requires new learning and new skills. A solid general education provides a basis for adapting and efficiently developing new skills as they are needed.
Most employers agree that they would rather employ a person who has completed year 12. They find that year 12 graduates are more skilled and more mature that those that have left school at the end of grade 10.
Completing grade 12 opens up more employment opportunities and choices. It also opens up more highly paid and interesting jobs.
With employment comes money and financial independence, so it is not difficult to understand why young people find a job offer tempting at the end of grade 10. On the other hand, however, staying at school will provide better opportunities and a better lifestyle into the future.