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THEMES  ·  Who we are  ·  How we live  ·  How we work  ·  How we learn
THEME · HOW WE LEARN
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
INCREASING EDUCATION LEVELS

Between 2006 and 2016, the share of the Fort St. John population with high school completion (as highest level of education) increased from 28% to 33%, while the share with a university certificate or degree increased from 12% to 17%. Fort St. John also has one of the highest proportions of the population with apprenticeship training or a trades certificate or diploma in the province; about 15% of the total population. There is a close connection between education and skills training levels, and what is needed for both community development and economic development.

THE DATA

Education is linked to community well-being in many ways, including employment, community capacity, income, and health. Statistics Canada conceptualizes educational attainment according to a hierarchy that progresses, in ascending order, from elementary school to secondary school, college, and university. For instance, if a person has a trade certificate and a bachelor’s degree, the latter is considered their highest educational attainment.

Between 2006 and 2016, Fort St. John closed the gap with the province in the proportion of population without a certificate, diploma or degree from 20% to 12% of the population compared to 10% of BC’s population. As an industrial city, Fort St. John has a higher proportion of people with apprenticeship or trades certificates, 15% compared with 9% of BC’s population. Fort St. John hosts a Northern Lights College campus that also runs UNBC programs. A smaller proportion of Fort St. John residents (17%) have a bachelor’s degree compared with 20% for the provincial average; however, there is a similar proportion of college graduates, 19% and 21% for Fort St. John and BC respectively.

The six-year completion rate is an indicator of the success of a school system. Six-year completion rate refers to “the proportion of students who graduate, with a British Columbia Certificate of Graduation or British Columbia Adult Graduation Diploma, within six years from the first time they enroll in Grade 8, adjusted for migration in and out of British Columbia.” The average total six-year completion rate for the North Peace (68.4%) is lower than both the South Peace (76.6%) and the provincial average (83.4%). The six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students is lower in the North Peace (44.8%) than both the South Peace (65.1%) and the provincial average (60.9%).


Educational attainment for the population aged 25 to 64 years, percentage of population, Fort St. John, 2006-2016
Source: Statistics Canada. 2006-2016. Census Program.
Note: Totals do not add up to 100% given the subcategories for "University certificate, diploma, or degree at bachelor level or above".



HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES CHALLENGES

Despite the increasing importance of education and skills training for community and economic development, Fort St. John is still challenged with its high school completion rates.

THE DATA

While there have been recent gains in educational attainment levels, challenges remain, including high school completion rates for students in Fort St. John. In 2015-16, the six-year completion rate for all students in the North Peace School District was just under 69%; the six-year completion rate for Indigenous students was even lower at 44%, and for special needs learners it was 41%.

By comparison, the South Peace School District six-year high school completion rate for 2015-16 was 83%, and almost 84% for BC. The six-year completion rate for Indigenous students was also higher; 77% in the South Peace School District and about 64% in BC. The six-year completion rates for special needs learners was 56% in the South Peace School District and 67% in BC.


Six-year completion rate, North Peace School District, 2011-2016
Source: BC Ministry of Education.


Six-year completion rate, South Peace School District, 2011-2016
Source: BC Ministry of Education.

Source: CDI Community Profile Fort St. John, British Columbia, Winter 2018.

IMPLICATIONS

This data from the Community Profile provides important insights into changes that are occurring in the levels of educational attainment in Fort St. John. While education levels in the community are increasing, high school completion is an issue deserving of attention.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN FORT ST. JOHN?

From our office in Fort St. John, The Forge, the CDI will be working with the City of Fort St. John and the community to share ideas, exchange information, and take action to strengthen the community and the economy and enhance the quality of life.

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