Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen says it is time to make improvements to the province's school system. He took on the Education portfolio in August after two-and-a-half years in the Health portfolio where he made major changes. Goertzen says the first step in the K to 12 review will be to gather plenty of input.
"Education is also a system where there are people with lots of different opinions about change. Lots of people want to see the system changed but they don't all agree on how. We are going to start the K-12 review in early January of 2019. We'll have an extensive consultation period of at least six months and then at least the same amount of time to write the report before we bring it to the public. There is a desire for change in education but there is always apprehension every time you talk about change because people don't know what that change will be."
Goertzen says one area that needs a closer look is the need for better technology training for students.
"There are some good programs that we're seeing where they are bringing technology into the K-12 system, they're not just waiting for people to get to universities and colleges. Industry is a part of that. We see industries in Winnipeg saying: How can we get into the training side in the K-12 system earlier? It's not necessarily so people graduate into Standard Aero or that kind of a company but at least it familiarizes them and exposes them to know that those are possibilities."
Furthermore, he says the review will examine the expectations being placed on teachers.
"Teachers are being asked to do a lot more. We are asking teachers to deal with a lot of social challenges that aren't necessarily being dealt with at home. That's hard for them. It adds a lot to their day and I think we need to talk about that and what are our expectations of teachers because we're asking them to do a lot more than just teach the basic math, science and literacy that we might have asked 20 or 30 years ago."
Goertzen says while he wants to see the Manitoba education system made better, it will be important to keep a strong focus on the three R's.
"We need to be able to ensure that young people are getting those core competencies so that they are not just good citizens but they can actually do the work that is required when they get into post-secondary school. When I meet with colleges and universities, they're telling me that in the last 15 years, they have seen a dramatic shift where we are graduating students out of Grade 12, sending them on to universities and colleges, if they choose to go there, and they are simply not prepared. So we need to ensure that those three competencies are done first and not at the expense of other things that are being added on."