Study on Filipino Youth hosts discussion of findings
York U – Casj collaboration
By Philip Kelly and Catherine Mulas
On June 23rd the Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada (FYTIC) research project hosted a discussion of its results and recommendations at York University. Over 40 community leaders, social service providers and educators attended the event.
Some key findings from the project are available in a report presented to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (http://tinyurl.com/pjkf7kw).
The event at York focused on the reasons for low levels of university attendance among Filipino youth, especially among boys.
With the collective expertise assembled at the meeting, some important insights were expressed. The following suggestions emerged:
Teachers and schools need to reach out to Filipino parents to encourage engagement and participation in schools. This needs to be done in ways that recognize their heavy work schedules. With so many parents finding themselves in low paid, precarious work, and holding down multiple jobs, school engagement and family time with children can be a challenge.
Extended families can play an important role, especially grandparents. Even those without grandparents in Canada could benefit from ‘volunteer lolos/lolas’ who could spend time to mentor them. Programs to facilitate these connections could help connect youth with their Filipino heritage.
Many Filipino parents are working in relatively low wage jobs, so financial support for post-secondary education is important. With this in mind, parents and students need to be made more aware of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), loans need to be made more accessible, and repayment terms need to be lengthened so that debt levels are not a deterrent to university education.
Filipino male youth have distinctive attributes – both problems and talents. Youth workers need more specialized training in order to be able to meet the needs of this community.
Role models need to be made available to Filipino youth to inspire them to aim high in their educational and career aspirations. Programs are needed to bring together young Filipinos with those from the community who offer examples of success. Such programs would also offer networking opportunities to make youth aware of a wide range of career options.
The Live-In Caregiver program leads, in many cases, to several years of family separation, thereby adding to the challenges faced by newcomer youth. Processing times under the program need to be minimized, or better still, caregivers should be given permanent residency upon arrival.
There is often a gulf between newcomer youth from the Philippines, and Filipino-Canadian youth who have grown up here. These two groups have a great deal to learn from each other and programs that bring them together should be supported.
Curriculum materials need to be available to teachers so that they can incorporate examples from the Philippines into their teaching of the Ontario curriculum, especially in schools with large numbers of Filipino students. This helps youth to identify with, and take pride in, their heritage.
The Filipino Youth Transitions in Canada project is a community-university collaboration between York University and the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ). The project will continue to produce reports from its findings in the coming months. For more information, contact Dr Philip Kelly, Principal Investigator (firstname.lastname@example.org).