The provincial government is seeking public input on rural education as part of a strategy being created by Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education Linda Larson to better understand the needs of students, parents, schools and communities in rural B.C.
“This is a great conversation topic that the government has launched and demonstrates a willingness to listen to the citizens of rural B.C., most importantly to hear the needs of communities and students,” said Shelley Sim, school trustee for the Clearwater-Blue River area. “I hope that people of the North Thompson take a minute to reply and lend their voice to the conversation.”
Until Jan. 9, 2017, British Columbians can join in the online discussion to share stories on rural education and thoughts around community development at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/ruraleducation
“The government has indicated that they hear the need to address rural communities differently than our urban counterparts and hopefully the voices of rural will help spotlight issues and even provide solutions,” Sim said. “The delivery of education to smaller communities needs innovation and possibly new funding systems to ensure the delivery of equitable education as well as encourage a broader range of opportunities that ensure future success for students as well as making full use of schools that are the heart of rural communities.”
A draft discussion paper will be developed and posted online for further public comment, followed by several regional meetings. Stakeholder groups may also submit formal submissions to government, which will be posted online.
All feedback received will help government shape a final report on an integrated rural education strategy, including recommendations for the future. The strategy will aim to find long-term solutions for the unique challenges facing rural school districts and communities, including looking at the important social, cultural and economic roles that schools play in small communities.