The Ministry plans to develop a rural education strategy by the end of summer 2017

B.C. government consulting public on rural education through online forum, meetings

Ministry of Education staff are making the rounds to several communities in B.C. to gather input from the public

  • Feb. 22, 2017 3:00 p.m.

Ministry of Education staff are making the rounds to several communities in B.C. to gather input from the public about rural education in the province.

“I’m looking forward to hearing a wide range of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities faced by educators and families in rural communities,” said Linda Larson, parliamentary secretary for education, in a release.

“All of this feedback is valuable in creating the rural education strategy, which will help guide rural education and community planning for years to come.”

The Ministry plans to develop a rural education strategy by the end of summer 2017.

According to the B.C. government, approximately 32 per cent of students in the K-12 education system in the province attend school outside of the Greater Victoria, Lower Mainland and Kelowna areas.

Parents of children in some rural schools are used to being told their local school may shut down.

“If the school were to close down it would change every single thing about our lives,” said Shy-Ann Abel, whose children attend Falkland Elementary School in the Interior.

If her children’s school were to shut down, Abel says she wouldn’t send them to a school outside the community.

“I would not bus my kids for hours a day to a bigger community because it’s just not fair to them,” she said.

The ongoing concern of rural schools being closed isn’t the only issue.

Kelly Stalker, mother of two students at Falkland Elementary School, says rural schools face “unequal distributions of resources.”

“In urban schools they’re certainly getting access to upgraded technology,” she said. “I’d like to see the district come up with a little more consistency with how the programs roll out across the district.”

An online forum is also being held to gather feedback from parents, staff and students about the quality and importance of education in rural communities.

Files from CBC News

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