Education Minister Addresses Upcoming School Year
Prince George, B.C. – School starts next week and there’s some big changes in store for parents and students across the province.
British Columbia’s Education Minister Mike Bernier held a provincial teleconference this morning to address those changes and let parents and students know what to expect.
He said the biggest change will be the new curriculum that will be rolled out for kindergarten to grade nine students.
“K-9 classrooms will have the new curriculum fully implemented created by teachers for teachers,” said Bernier. “We will build on the success we’ve had here with outcomes in this province.”
He said the upcoming school year will be a transition year for students in grades 10-12 “who will see opportunities to start looking at that new curriculum and testing it out” before it goes into effect in the 2017/2018 school year.
Bernier said the goal is to “really focus and underscore the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic” – skills crucial to the future of students.
“You need to have these skills to make sure our students are ready to graduate and move on where they choose to go in life.”
He said the government has invested $7 million dollars in teacher training to help with the transition.
Bernier added Foundation Skills Assessments – also know as FSA’s – will be enhanced.
“Assessments provide a snapshot – they really provide a benchmark and help make sure our students are at the levels they should be at in the critical skills of math and reading.”
He said changes have been made in collaboration with “a lot of different partner groups” and said a further announcement on the issue “is coming soon.”
When it comes to exams, he said the focus will be on math and English. Bernier noted the government has collaborated with universities across North America in making this change.
“When you look at admissions what they are looking for is students to be prepared. Those cores need to be there.”
He said that also means that science and social studies will be assessed differently.
“Exams will be replaced with evaluations in a classroom setting rather than the way people remember as the gymnasium style of exams.”
As for report cards, Bernier said the government will begin consulting with parents’ province-wide starting next month.
“Through the ministry – allowing parents to really help shape how they’d like that to be seen. With the technology we have now, there’s opportunities to be able to have almost daily report backs if that’s what parents choose,” he said.
“But we want to hear from parents on what they’re hoping for, what they’re expecting.”
Bernier said the government will take that information starting next year and “look at implementing different ideas and changes within that system.”