FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TDSB recommendations to combat Somali-Canadian students’ dropout rates a step in the right direction, says Somali advocacy group
Toronto, Ontario (Wednesday, January 22, 2014)– With the high school dropout rate of Somali-Canadian young people in Toronto hovering at 25%, and nearly 40% for Somali boys; Positive Change, an ad hoc Somali-Canadian advocacy group, is in strong support of a set of recommendations put forth by the TDSB task force to remedy the problem.
In early 2013, the school board put together the Task Force for the Success of Students of Somali Descent – comprised largely of Somali-Canadian community members – to examine the causes and potential solutions for the high dropout and expulsion rates.
After many public consultations, the task force put forward a set of recommendations to be voted on by trustees in late-February.
“We’re very happy with the recommendations which range from critical education pieces for parents to after school support for students. They are a promising step in the right direction. We know we can turn this ship around – but we’re going to have to work together to help our children succeed,” says Faduma Mohamed, co-founder of Positive Change.
Positive Change works with community stakeholders to combat youth violence in the Somali-Canadian community.
“It makes sense – if children drop out of school, they very often get involved with people they shouldn’t and it’s easy to fall into a life of crime,” says Mohamed. “We want to see our children succeed, and education plays a huge role in the safety and the future of our children.”
A meeting to hear from the community through deputations is being held at the TDSB at 5pm this evening.
“We’ll definitely be there to show our support tonight. It’s imperative that trustees hear from the community,” adds Mohamed. “We’ve heard from so many community members who are delighted by the recommendations and there’s a real appetite for change. The task force has done a wonderful job and we look forward to seeing the recommendations turn into real actions. This is only step one in making the TDSB a thriving place for Somali youth.”
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About Positive Change:
Positive Change is a group of concerned citizens who have united to tackle youth violence in the Somali-Canadian community. We are made up of mothers, relatives, friends and supporters of young men who were recently murdered in Toronto and across Canada. www.positivechangeto.com
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