A new task force is looking at ways to enhance achievement for all students in rural and remote areas of the province.
As part of BC's Education Plan, the Ministry of Education has established the BC Rural Education Partner's Council (REPC), to create an overarching provincial rural education strategy.
Education Minister George Abbott addressed the REPC at its first meeting, held today, where he stressed the need to enhance the success of rural students.
Education in rural and remote areas is complicated by multiple factors:
- Schools in these areas are experiencing the greatest decline in enrolment, which makes it more challenging to offer a wide variety of courses face-to-face.
- It can be a challenge for rural and remote school districts to attract and retain specialists-teachers.
- Rural and remote schools are aging and rarely meet approval for upgrading because of low enrolment.
- Aboriginal student achievement in rural areas is an ongoing concern.
A number of education partner groups have been invited to participate in the task force including the BC School Trustees Association, BC School Superintendents Association, BC Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, BC Teachers' Federation, First Nations Education Steering Committee, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, BC Rural & Small Schools Teachers' Association, Association of BC Deans of Education, BC Association of School Business Officials, BC Student Voice, BC Chamber of Commerce, CUPE BC and the Ministry of Education.
The council will be hosted by the BC School Trustees Association and funded through a grant of $25,000 from the ministry. The council will meet two or three times a year and report to the Ministry of Education with recommendations on improving rural education.
George Abbott, Minister of Education -
"BC's Education Plan is our blueprint for change, and through this new task force we can help to address the needs of rural communities."
"The goal is to begin a dialogue with all rural partners about policies and strategies to impact and strengthen rural student success."
- There are close to 75,000 students in rural schools across B.C., approximately 14 per cent of the total student population.
- 578 schools in B.C. have fewer than 200 students.
- The Stikine school district, covering an area the size of Washington State, has fewer than 200 students.
To learn more about education in B.C. visit: www.gov.bc.ca/bced
To read about BC's Education Plan and get involved in the conversation, visit: www.bcedplan.ca
Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963 (Media Line)