Why is the BC NDP government failing to support our children and public education system?

May 7, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video | 0 comments

Despite their rhetoric, the BC NDP government is failing to meet the operational needs of school districts across the province.

The BC Teachers Federation is advertising calling on the province to develop a human resource plan, acknowledging our children with the greatest needs continue to be let down by a BC NDP government that was once a champion of public education in British Columbia.

We know that a modern, well-funded, public education system is the cornerstone of a resilient and adaptable society.

However, our provincial government has failed to assist school districts cover inflationary costs leading to program cuts. They have failed to maintain up-to-date libraries, tech, text books, and school supplies.

Teachers and administrators are exhausted and exasperated. Parents are frustrated that our public education system cannot meet the needs of our children.

While the BC NDP guarantees the FIFA they will profit from World Cup games in Vancouver, they fail the most basic promise to our children, and our future.


A. Olsen:

Teacher shortages across B.C. have forced schools to rely on uncertified teachers. The number of uncertified teachers in the province has tripled over the last four years. Portables have become a permanent fixture in many schools across the province. Twenty thousand teachers and 7,000 teachers assistants will be needed over the next ten years to keep up with growing enrolment.

The B.C. Teachers Federation has called on the government to create a comprehensive plan — remarkable that they don’t already have one — to address the growing teacher shortage. Loan forgiveness and incentives for rural workers could vastly improve the outcomes for teachers, students and the education system in British Columbia.

It’s a desperate situation in our public education system, a public education system the people on the other side claimed to support at one point. This government used to be that champion. We failed to see it while they’ve been in government.

To the Minister of Education, what is the minister doing to ensure that we have a thriving public education system in British Columbia?

Hon. R. Singh:

Thank you, Member, for this question. We know B.C. is not the only province that is dealing with the labour challenges, and the education sector is also one of them. We are, in the ministry but also in talking to all of our education partners, very cognizant of the need to hire more teachers. That’s the reason that we have added more teacher-training seats since we formed the government — more than 300 new teacher-training seats — giving incentives to teachers to take on this profession but also having some very special recourse to hire rural and Indigenous teachers.

We have a very robust working group, which the B.C. Teachers Federation is also part of, working very closely with our education partners, looking at ways of how we can support, how we can bring more teachers — and also the teachers who are already in the workforce, how to support them so that they are also able to mentor and train — and have more teachers come into this really productive and really, I would say, very fruitful profession.

The Speaker: Member, supplemental.

A. Olsen:

B.C. is the only jurisdiction that we’re responsible for, and the students, our kids, in the public education system are the people that we should be looking out for. Unfortunately, I’ve watched over the last seven years a B.C. NDP government that claimed to be champions of our public education system allow it to erode under their watch.

We’re hosting a FIFA event here in a couple of years — $150 million. Think of what $150 million could do to offset the cost of inflation in our public education system, something that school districts across the province have been complaining about to this government, and they failed to meet.

The operational costs of our school districts are going up. This government has failed to meet those. We’ve seen libraries in our school systems close. This government has failed to meet those needs. We’ve seen tech departments fail to upgrade the tech that our students need to be successes. We’ve seen this government fail to meet those needs.

Look, they’ve made a commitment to FIFA that they’re going to be able to profit from this upcoming tournament. We need to see the same commitment to our kids and to our parents. This B.C. NDP government has barely maintained the status quo.

To the Minister of Education, why is the public education system eroding under this government?


The Speaker: Members. let’s hear the answer, please. Members, at the back side, please.

Hon. R. Singh:

I don’t agree with the member’s statement. Since we formed the government, we have been championing public education. Unlike the previous government, we have made the investments like no other. Since 2017, we have invested not just in the capital projects — to date, more than $3 billion just in the capital projects — but also in the public education, whether it is the operating funding or whether it is hiring more teachers.

[10:45 a.m.]

I just talked about the incentives that we are using for our rural and Indigenous communities. With those incentives, we were able to hire 15 new teachers just in the last year.

I completely understand the challenges — the recruitment challenges, the labour challenges. We are very cognizant of them.

B.C. is not the only jurisdiction that is dealing with it. It is a Canada-wide issue but also a global issue, the labour shortage that we are facing. But we are working with all of our education partners. I just want to reiterate again that we have invested in public education that the previous government, the old government, did not do.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This

Share this post with your friends!