B.C.’s plan for education transformation

Contract talks between government and the teachers’ union have been at the heart of most discussions about education

Contract talks between government and the teachers’ union have been at the heart of most discussions about education in this province.

I continue to hope for a swift resolution to these negotiations.

I want you to know about a broader conversation we’ve been having with students, parents, teachers, and other education partners about our plan to make our good education system a great one.

We need to first acknowledge every student has his or her own unique learning style, interests and passions, and we need to give them opportunities to achieve their goals.

Our world continues to change rapidly. An education system designed in an earlier century can’t possibly meet the challenges of today’s students. Education must reflect the times in which we live and recognize the promise of every child.

British Columbia’s new education plan is based on a simple principle: every learner will realize his or her full potential and contribute to the well-being of our province.

The plan has five key elements:

* Personalized learning for every student.

* Quality teaching and learning.

* More flexibility and choice.

* High standards.

* Learning empowered by technology.

As we transform education in this province, we will see some key changes. These include maintaining core skills for students, while redesigning curriculum to include key competencies, such as critical thinking and teamwork – the kinds of skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in the 21st century.

We will also support families by creating better opportunities for parents to engage in their child’s learning with more flexibility and choice with respect to what, how, when and where their child learns.

We will expand our learning credential program to better recognize learning that takes place outside of the classroom – arts, sports, science and leadership programs – so students are recognized for their passion and commitment to this work.

New legislation will create a teacher regulation system that puts the public interest first. The goal is to increase public confidence in the profession’s disciplinary processes and raise the stature of the teaching profession.

Our plan for education supports a simple truth – children are born learners, and teachers are passionate about teaching.

We have a unique opportunity to forge ahead with a more innovative education system that meets the needs of B.C. families today and in the future, to keep our young people achieving and thriving in a dynamic, rapidly evolving world.

Innovative change is already happening in schools across the province. Educators have great ideas for preparing students to take on the future and we want to allow them the freedom to act on those ideas.

A more nimble and flexible education system is needed to better meet the needs of students.

We will soon be engaging the public and tabling our plan to move education forward, hand-in-hand with teachers, parents, students and all those who share an interest in ensuring our province’s bright future.

We’ve all got a stake in preparing our young people for success in a changing world. Our goal is to take what is widely viewed as a good education system and make it exceptional.

Together, we can and will accomplish that goal.

George Abbott is the education minister of British Columbia.