National Survey Shows Need To Reinvest In Saskatchewan Education

May 9, 2018
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

A new report on reading, math and science skills shows lower scores in Saskatchewan when compared to other provinces. The report, prepared by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, points to evidence of a system under stress.

“What we are seeing matches the perceptions seen in our recently-released public survey that underfunding and further cuts in education funding are having an impact,” Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze said. “We have more children in classrooms with more complex needs combined with fewer teachers and fewer supports for teachers. There are going to be consequences.”

The report is called PCAP 2016, Report on the Pan-Canadian Assessment of Science, Mathematics and Reading. The survey is conducted every three years. Provinces that have maintained their investments in education like British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are showing scores significantly above the Canadian average. Provinces that have seen cuts in funding, like Saskatchewan and Manitoba, show scores significantly below the national average.

“As we said on budget day, it’s time for this government to begin planning on how to reinvest in education, now that we’re starting to see the early signs of an economic recovery,” Maze said.

Per pupil funding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is among the highest in Canada. Yet it seems that the money isn’t getting to the right place—support for students in the classroom.

“The problem appears to be the money isn’t getting to the right place—the classroom,” Maze said. “The problem really seems to be with the government’s strategic planning efforts in education, which are disjointed, limited in scope and don’t include teacher voices,” Maze said.  “Teachers understand the consequences of cuts, because they see them in the classroom every day.”

Last month, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation launched Re-Imagine Education, a research and public consultation process that will clarify the issues facing education and develop recommendations on how to make that vision a reality.

“I strongly urge everyone—including the Ministry of Education—to play an active role in this process, for the sake of our students,” Maze said.