A new high school being developed in Edmonton will be the first of its kind in North America by allowing students to fast-track their post-secondary education.

According to a spokesperson for the Edmonton Catholic School Board, the Grade 9-12 collegiate is a partnership between the government, NAIT and both Catholic and public schools.

“It will cater to students who have strong interests in working with their hands and an aptitude for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Debbie Engel explained.

“It will be like a seamless entry into NAIT or the U of A because they will start it in Grade 9 and by Grade 11 they will earn postsecondary credits, which will accelerate their entry into the workforce.”

Engel said that will in turn strengthen Alberta’s economy.

The school will be built on the land east of the boundary of NAIT and allow students to study the subjects in-depth and have access to NAIT labs, she explained.

“These children will still be taking the Alberta curriculum from nine-12 but it will be enhanced by what NAIT offers us.

“NAIT’s partnership will allow them to not only use world-class facilities but also get credits in Grade 11 and get exposure to what it would be like to be in whatever particular science, technology, engineering, mathematics career they are looking at.”

The possibility appeals to Grade 6 student Ethan Robinson who said he plans on a career in science.

“I learn better if I do something and learn from that and I look at that and I take that knowledge and then I put it down to paper. I find copying is just a little too blanch for me.”

Although there is no completion date set yet, Engel said the publically-funded facility may be open as early as 2016.

“I think there will be a really, really, really strong movement to get this collegiate going.”

With files from Susan Amerongen