Education Minister Becky Druhan said including more voices in decision-making would be a key pillar in how Progressive Conservatives run schools across the province, but it’s not yet clear if that includes the return of elected school boards.
âWe are very interested and absolutely need to hear from the stakeholders within the system, and they are teachers, principals and other staff, as well as families and students,â she said.
On Thursday, the ministerial mandate letters for Druhan and his cabinet colleagues were released. They understand what Prime Minister Tim Houston expects of them during the term of government. Each is responsible for establishing a schedule of work for the next 90 days.
âThe education system is not just about teaching students to go out and find jobs and do work, it is about creating and helping students to become engaged and educated citizens,â Druhan said.
Druhan has been invited to:
- Review and update the curriculum for literacy, civics, environmental stewardship, physical activity, healthy lifestyles and diversity, including residential school education.
- Spend time in schools and classrooms, have regular meetings with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, and virtually attend at least one school staff meeting per week.
- Set a goal of having 40 percent diverse enrollment in high school skilled trades programs by the fourth year of the government’s first term.
Teachers’ union president Paul Wozney said holding regular meetings should help build a framework for collaborative change.
“I think attending staff meetings and being present in schools will build the confidence that she [Druhan] really understands from a first voice point of view the dossier that has been given to him to provide leadership, âhe said.
âConnecting with the people who do the work can only serve to inform about how you do your work and drive change. “
Wozney said teachers should take more ownership of the direction of the education system.
âThey believe in change because they have had the opportunity to influence its development and they see the value of the change to come and are willing participants,â he said. “In my mind, that’s when you get transformative change in social institutions like public education.”
Wozney said the previous Liberal government was “very autocratic”.
Within eight months, Druhan is due to provide a public update on the progress made in implementing the report’s recommendations on inclusive education.
Launched in March 2018, the five-year plan provides for better training of teachers and support workers, more specialists and better cooperation with the ministries of education, health, community services and justice.