A report from a education review survey indicates that some people in the province want to see updates to Saskatchewan’s public education system.
Education Re-Imagined: 12 Actions for Education is the final report pieced together by the Re-Imagine Education Reference Committee after 6,000 people participated in the survey to share their vision for the future of education in the province. The survey’s findings were presented on Monday morning at Hotel Saskatchewan.
Public engagement started earlier this year and included consultations in 204 schools, 69 different communities and seven groups of students.
The 12 calls to action are grouped into four categories: Learning Environment, Decision Making in Education, Legislation and Policy in Education, and Funding Education. The committee hopes the government and community partners will commit to implementing the recommendations outlined in the report.
A statistic that stands out from the data shows respondents rated overall trust and confidence in the provincial school system at 56.4 per cent. Reacting to that number, Minister of Education Gordon Wyant said he wants to look at the report in its full context to see what the context of that number is.
“When we go around talking to people in the province, I think there’s a higher degree of confidence in the public education system,” he suggested. “When we see numbers like that, we want to see what the foundation of those numbers really is.”
One of the speakers at Monday’s announcement was Monica Kreuger, who serves as first vice chair for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
She believes there needs to be a wholesale rethinking of how the province’s education system is structured. After sharing the stories of how her husband and two of her children struggled through the system, she said it’s time for it to be updated.
“It met a lot of needs 50-60 years ago, but we’re not there anymore, and our times are changing much more quickly than we are able to adapt,” stated Kreuger, who suggested the government needs to reassess critical thinking, communication and innovation in an evolving system.
Kreuger mentioned that her husband barely got through grade 12 and had difficulties in his post-secondary studies. After getting married, they decided to have him take part in tests to figure out how he learns.
Eventually he earned himself three degrees and co-founded their company Praxis International Institute with his wife.
Randy Schmaltz, chair of the Re-Imagine Education Reference Committee, was able to take a good look at the results when they organized the data into the report.
He believes people are interested in and committed to public education, but he thinks the numbers show parents and public members feel they aren’t engaged.
“The system doesn’t include their input and their voice. One of the big takeaways for the committee was the desire to shine a light on the need for community voice and public input into decision making.”
Schmaltz noted that Saskatchewan’s education system hasn’t kept up to the pace of change when discussing diversity, needs of students, social pressures and fiscal restraints. However he hopes the government will seriously consider these factors moving forward.
You can view the full Education Re-Imagined: 12 Actions for Education report here.