Rural Parents Opposed to Videoconferencing
McBride, B.C. – Some consider it a solution to ensuring rural students receive the credits they need to graduate while some parents call it an example of how kids outside the big city aren’t getting the opportunities they need.
Videoconferencing, or Distance Learning, is on the table for students in McBride and parents there aren’t happy about it.
“We ask that you do not suggest Distance Learning (online learning) as a viable alternative to teachers in front of students,” said Karen Dube, Parent Advisory Council president at McBride Secondary School.
“We send our kids to McBride Centennial and Secondary so that they can learn from their teachers and each other in a dynamic, challenging and interactive environment. If we wanted Distance Learning for our kids, we would choose homeschooling!”
Expanding video-conferencing was one of 14 recommendations made by the Prince George School Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Rural Education earlier this year. It’s seen as better way to accommodate the needs of rural students and staff.
The issue was raised at a community meeting in McBride which included parents, community members, trustees and senior administration from the Prince George School District last week.
Dube confirmed to 250News following the meeting that a consensus has yet to be reached.
“We didn’t hear solutions directly for that. We talked about how the rural school funding model needs to change at the provincial levels to better support rural schools across the province,” she said.
“Videoconferencing came up but I don’t think we really resolved anything there. Online learning options were also discussed but I wouldn’t say we have anything concrete yet. So, we’re still looking to see what the school board will do for us next year and the years after for course offerings for high school students.”
School board chair Tony Cable was at the meeting and confirmed it’s still an option that’s on the table.
“I know it’s not for all students and many community members aren’t in favour of it but it is a possibility and it does give students a chance to get a biology 12 or physics 11 or courses like that,” he said.
“The other option that our senior staff looked at is the possibility of having a common timetable so if physics 12 was taught at 11 o’clock at PGSS – a student at McBride Secondary could also sit down at 11 o’clock and take that course via teleconferencing.”
Cable continued: “So sometimes people aren’t all that enamoured with videoconferencing and courses online but it is a definite, viable option and it will help students to fulfill their graduation requirements.”
Moving forward, he said trustees will work with senior district staff and will be looking at the long-term facilities report and the impacts it has on McBride.