Posted January 08, 2019 05:22:38 The number of computer science bachelor’s degrees awarded nationally has fallen from an average of more than 2,000 in the 1990s to fewer than 600 this year, according to a new report.
The Statistics Canada report released Tuesday also shows that the number of degrees awarded in Ontario fell from 2,857 in the 2014-15 school year to 1,542 in 2019-20, a drop of 9 per cent.
Statistics Canada says the number is down from 2.3 per cent of the overall university population in 2014-2015.
The report also showed that the percentage of computer engineering degrees awarded to Canadians has also fallen, from 27 per cent in the past decade to 18 per cent this year.
The percentage of graduates in computer science who go on to earn degrees in computer engineering has also dropped, from 19 per cent to 15 per cent, according the report.
It is a reflection of the economic and employment crisis in Canada, said Peter Wilson, director of research at the Association of Canadian Computer and Information Science Teachers.
In 2015, there were 9.1 per cent more computer science graduates than in 2014, according for Statistics Canada.
That percentage has been declining steadily over the past 10 years, Wilson said.
He said the drop in computer programs is a consequence of the high cost of higher education.
There is an increase in computer-related employment in Canada because people are going into the computer industry because it is the fastest-growing sector, he said.
The number of graduates entering the workforce is also growing, the report shows, but the number graduating with degrees is decreasing.
According to the report, the number holding computer science and computer engineering bachelor’s degree programs has dropped from 7,948 in 2014 to 6,874 this year in a decline of 9.3 percentage points.
The drop in the number awarding bachelor’s in computer programming has also occurred, with the number dropping from 4,079 in 2014.
The decline is due to the economic downturn, with many graduates leaving Canada, the decline in the availability of job opportunities and the growing number of students entering university, said Wilson.
The University of Ottawa said that the drop of the number awarded degrees has been particularly noticeable in the areas of technology and computer science.
In 2014, the percentage awarding bachelor degrees in technology and computing was 23 per cent; in 2019, it was 19 per per cent and in 2020 it was 18 per percent, said university spokesman Matt Rees.
It also dropped in the arts and humanities, where the percentage was 11 per cent last year.
Rees said the university is committed to creating a more competitive university for students.
He added that computer science has become an increasingly important career in Canada and there are more and more programs in computer and information technology and engineering.