Vancouver: BC’s teachers support plans to improve and expand trades and technical education, but those plans must be backed by sufficient funding and collaborative planning across the public education sector.

In response to govt’s release of BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: Re-Engineering Education and Training, BCTF President Jim Iker said he’s concerned that, in its rush to maximize potential profits from LNG exploitation, the provincial government may be limiting educational opportunities for the upcoming generation of students. He urged government not to take an either/or approach to education reform.

Representatives of the BCTF participated in the independent review of the Industry Training Authority, and emphasized teachers’ concerns. The BC Technology Education Association has also issued urgent calls for reinvestment in trades programs to confront a number of serious problems: Iker expressed concern that report seems to pre-determine reforms to the graduation program for Grades 10–12. All  of the K–12 provincial partner groups have been participating in the government’s extensive Graduation Requirements Review. The process has been positive and productive, but no decisions have yet been reached on how the requirements should be restructured.

“The timelines for the new curriculum and grad review have all been pushed back for several reasons, including uncertainty over funding,” Iker said, adding that he hopes today’s announcement does not undermine the extensive consultation process that has already involved parents, teachers, community members, industry, and ministry representatives.