Sask. Teachers’ Federation Calls for More Consultation for Centralized Online Learning | – Global News | Team Cansler

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Association (STF) is raising some red flags with the Department of Education’s approach to creating centralized online learning in the province for the 2023-24 school year.

The province is creating a new Crown Corporation to offer students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to learn online, but STF President Samantha Becotte says the government is moving too quickly to create such a complex system.

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“This is an extremely complex process, and if the goal is to ensure consistent, quality education for all students accessing online courses, it has to get it right the first time,” said Becotte.

“Right now the government doesn’t even have a distance learning policy outlining where they’re going and where they want to eventually be. Many students from across Saskatchewan can benefit significantly from a well-governed, well-funded, and closely monitored online public education system that provides quality instruction from certified Saskatchewan teachers.

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The STF said in a statement that there are many questions that need to be answered regarding this project:

  • Whether a Crown corporation is the best structure to provide online public education and whether it is tax accountable.
  • When will the province’s distance learning policy be finalized and whether education sector partners will be consulted on its development.
  • Required legal and regulatory changes.
  • Details of the governance structure of the new Crown.
  • What adjustments need to be made to the current structures for funding, staffing, contracts, client roles and capital requirements?
  • How links are maintained between local teachers and their nearby schools.
  • Details of the IT capabilities required to build, deploy and train users of a new centralized online education platform.
  • Possible screening criteria to ensure prospective students have the time management skills needed to benefit from online course instruction.
  • How technological barriers, including computers and reliable Internet access, are being removed to provide equal access for all Saskatchewan students.
  • Confirmation that a plan is being developed to address potential negative outcomes for students, such as: B. longer screen time, reduced physical activity and mental health.

“It has been over a month since the government announced its plan to centralize distance learning and there are still more questions than answers about how this is going to go ahead. We’re ready and willing to be a part of that work,” said Becotte.

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The Saskatchewan government made the announcement on October 6, noting that the service will be available to all students in Saskatchewan.

“Our Government firmly believes that the best place for students is a classroom, but in the event that students require online learning, we want to ensure that all students have access to quality education, regardless of where they live .” Education Secretary Dustin Duncan said in a press release.

“We look forward to enhancing their experiences through consistency, accessibility and choice, and to best meet their personal learning needs.”

The province noted in the press release that separate school departments and qualifying independent schools can apply to the ministry to offer online learning, adding that “this application process will ensure they follow a provincial quality assurance framework.”

A funding model and platform provider have not yet been announced, but the ministry said student registration is expected to start this winter.

Global News has reached out to the Department of Education for comment.

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