Sports is one of the two new subjects Ontario high school students in a specialized program can major in this fall.

The province says the sports major is designed to better prepare students for careers such as coaching, training, sport management and sport broadcasting.

“There are tremendous opportunities for students in the sports field, whether that’s in sports broadcasting, whether it’s understanding how to be more healthy and how to work in gyms and community health clubs,” said Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky.

“This is going to be an area where our youth in school are going to be able to experience first-hand what might be available for them in the workforce when they graduate.”

The opposition said it was concerned the Liberal government was introducing a sports major to make the curriculum easier and increase the graduation rate.

“This government has taken the core curriculum and done everything it can to water it down in ways that will encourage higher graduation rates, which they then use to politicize their efforts in education,” said Progressive Conservative critic John Yakabuski.

Last year, only 70 per cent of Ontario students completed high school in four years, but the government claimed a graduation rate of 79 per cent by including students who took five years to graduate.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said there’s no doubt the Liberal government fudges graduation rates to make itself look good, but she supports any ideas that will keep boys interested in going to school.

The other new high school major — the non-profit sector — will see students gain the experience they need to work at community agencies in the province.

The majors are part of the Specialist High Skills Major program, which is being expanded to include about 530 secondary schools this fall.

The two new subjects boost the number of majors available in Ontario to 18, joining such areas as construction, energy, agriculture, aviation and aerospace.

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