One organization is calling for more awareness of Canadian high school dropout rates after a new survey shows many Canadians are 'in the dark' about the number of students being affected.
According to a press release from Pathways to Education Canada, around 2000 adults were asked how many students don't graduate from high school in Canada, and more than half of people polled believe there are less than 30-thousand students who are at risk of dropping out annually.
The actual total of high school students who drop out is ten times higher than that, says Pathways to Education Canada.
In Canada, 300,000 students are at risk of dropping out of high school each year.
Pathways says young Canadians who are living in poverty often face significant barriers to education that limit their chances of graduating high school, which affects low-income areas where the number of residents ages 20-24 who don't graduate from high school is double or triple the national average.
In some communities, this number may be as high as 50 per cent of residents.
Pathways' President and CEO Sue Gillespie says this study has to be a 'real wake-up call' for Canadians.
"It is difficult to truly address a major social challenge when most people don't even realize one exists in their own towns and cities." said Gillespie in the release, "Awareness is crucial to success, and this study clearly shows many people are in the dark on this issue."
Gillespie says the high dropout rate is as much an economic issue as a social one as a one per cent increase in graduation rates would save the Canadian economy $7.7 billion a year.
Founded in 2001, Pathways has supported more than 13,000 youth in low-income communities across eight provinces.
With International Education day on Jan. 24th, Pathways says they will continue to educate and inform citizens.
For more information on Pathways to Education Canada, go to pathwaystoeducation.ca.