Public school teachers from across the province discussed how the new student curriculum might unroll at the recent British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) annual general meeting in Victoria.
Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Murray Helmer says the membership has some concerns about effectively implementing the new curriculum coming down the pike from the Ministry of Education.
The ministry introduced several changes in Bill 11, the Education Statutes Amendment Act, on March 26.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the “new, innovative approaches” will help school districts reduce overhead costs, update the framework for teacher professional development and strengthen accountability for student outcomes.
“We are not opposed to the new curriculum – there are some very valuable resources there – but we need resources.
“It just seems like it is ‘here’s your new program, but sorry we’ve cut your budgets, and do the best you can to go about and do this’.”
There is time involved for teachers to absorb the new curriculum, and they will also need to find resources to support it, but how they might do all this is still a big unknown, he explains.
“There is no assurance there are textbooks or online material or whatever to support it, and that whole infrastructure needs to be there.”
Helmer adds he wonders how much of it will be online learning, and if all students will have the ability to access it at the same time.
“Part of the expectations of the ministry is that students will bring their own computing devices to school because they are not going to fund having a computer in front of every student.
“So that causes its own problems with security and viruses and things like that, but [also] not everybody has equal access to that kind of technology. It just puts the onus on parents in a public education system that is supposed to be adequately funded so every student can attend.”