The Nova Scotia government has approved eight new organizations to the Personal Development Credit, which allows high school students to earn either a half or full credit for their involvement in activities outside school.

Halifax gymnast Stephen Clouter admits it’s difficult to balance gymnastics and high school. The 16-year-old spends a total of 20 hours training each week.

“So I do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, for four hours,” he says of his training routine.

The province launched the Personal Development Credit last fall with four approved providers, and invited organizations that wanted to be included in the credit to submit applications by Jan. 31.

Today, Nova Scotia Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced that Gymnastics Nova Scotia, Italian Language School, Nova Scotia Equestrian Federation, Cadance Academy in New Minas, Lifesaving Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers' Association, Nova Scotia Scouts Canada and Skate Canada Nova Scotia have been added to the list, bringing the total number of organizations involved in the program from four to 12.

“We realty wanted to make a credit available to recognize the work they do outside of school is recognized as part of their education,” says Jennex.

High school students can earn up to one full credit as one of their five electives, as long as the program falls under one of the organizations approved by the Education Department.

The second phase of the Personal Development Credit will begin in September.

The government says it recognizes not all students can afford to be involved in activities outside of school, so all organizations involved in the program must provide options, such as bursaries, to avoid financial barriers for students.

Clouter says he is relieved the hard work he puts in at the gym will help him earn a high school credit.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Alyse Hand