Back to School
September is here and school has started. More than 182,000 students and 13,000 teachers are back in classrooms at hundreds of schools across the province.
A good education is the foundation for a stable and successful future. The dedicated work of teachers, school staff, and school boards improves quality of education and keeps our province growing stronger. Since 2007, forty new or replacement schools have been built, and 25 schools have had major renovations. More than 840 teachers and 167 student support staff have been added. Over a period in which enrolment grew 13 per cent, operating funding has increased by 35 per cent.
Last fall 18 new schools opened around the province. This year’s budget puts a strong focus on high-quality learning and support services in education. An additional 30 million dollars to school divisions will support students in the classroom through the hiring of up to 400 teachers and other educational support staff. Investments in Prekindergarten will support the early development of more than 5,000 three and four-year old children; to help them succeed in their first years at school. Individualized funding for children under six with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and a new early learning pilot program for preschool-aged children who are deaf and hard of hearing will also help young students get a strong start in school.
Every student that enters our classrooms is unique and has their own ‘best way’ of learning. We appreciate the efforts put forth by teachers and school staff as they rise to this challenge in many creative initiatives. The Ministry of Education is committed to working with teachers, school staff and all our education partners toward the success and well-being of all Saskatchewan learners.
Recent statistics for Saskatchewan post-secondary education are encouraging. Over the past five years, the total number of students at Saskatchewan’s three largest institutions has increased on average by 1.9 per cent annually. In the fall of 2017, there were more than 42,500 students enrolled in credentialed programs. Particularly encouraging is the number of post-secondary credentials awarded to First Nations, Métis and Inuit students which has grown 35 per cent since 2013.
Students considering furthering their education by attending universities, colleges or trade schools may consider available assistance through support programs. Post-secondary students can find information and applications for student loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships at Saskatchewan.ca. School zones that were quiet for the past two months are buzzing with activity as excited students meet with their friends and head to their classrooms this week. Drivers need to be extra cautious; especially in the first few weeks when students are more likely to be distracted. Thank you to school crossing guards who give their time to keep their fellow students safe.
Harvest equipment will be sharing rural roads with school buses. Please watch out for the school bus “do not pass” flashing red lights, and the “slow vehicle” signs on farm equipment.
I wish a successful and fulfilling school year to students of all ages, and to those who are dedicated to their learning.
Warren Michelson, MLA