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Social and Emotional Skills Remain A Low Priority At Post-Secondary Schools

The Conference Board of Canada
·3 min read

Canadian colleges and universities need to better align their curriculum with employers’ needs

OTTAWA, Jan. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Research from The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with the Future Skills Centre, has found that Canadian post-secondary institutions are not prioritizing the development of social and emotional skills such as creativity and problem-solving that are increasingly in demand by employers.

In the research, The Conference Board of Canada analyzed the strategic plans of Canadian post-secondary institutions and found that just over half of them identify social and emotional skills as an important part of student success.

“These findings are disappointing when considered in the context of the skills that employers are looking for today,” says Michael Burt, Vice President of The Conference Board of Canada. “Perhaps most telling is that only one in five post-secondary strategic plans mentions holistic social and emotional skills development. This suggests that social and emotional skills remain under-recognized as a core part of learning at Canadian colleges and universities.”

To adequately prepare students for career success in the 21st Century, Canadian post-secondary institutions must give more weight to social and emotional skills development. To do this, colleges and universities need to translate social and emotional skill priorities into applied training and assessment.

“Progress has been made when it comes to recognizing the role that social and emotional skills play in today’s workforce,” says Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “It is encouraging to see that slightly more than half of Canada’s post-secondary schools recognize social and emotional skills. We look forward to working with the education sector to develop new ways to build on this progress."

Colleges and universities that mention specific social and emotional skills tend to highlight the same ones that employers say they look for in new hires. This is positive as it suggests alignment between employer demand and the priorities of post-secondary institutions.

However, to prepare students for career success, Canadian colleges and universities must give more weight to social and emotional skills development. To do this, they need to translate social and emotional skill priorities into applied training and assessment, recommends The Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre.

About The Conference Board of Canada
The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections. Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda

About the Future Skills Centre
Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

Media Contact:
The Conference Board of Canada
media@conferenceboard.ca
613-526-3090 ext. 224