EDUCATION WEEK 2018
Education needs to evolve in order to meet the demands of the future
If you haven’t been in a school classroom for a while, in all likelihood it would be quite an eye-opener to say the least.
From the much more diverse student population to the proliferation of technology today’s classroom is all but unrecognizable from just a decade ago. That’s perhaps to be expected since education has to evolve in order to meet not only today’s needs but those of the future – which few of us can accurately predict in terms of knowing what skills students will need then.
It is not overstating it that in many aspects public education in this province is at a crossroads, and there is much to consider as we embark on celebrating Education Week for another year.
As the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation attempts to build momentum for its Re-Imagine Education campaign, there has been a conscious effort to include a wide array of organizations, several of whom would not necessarily be considered traditional education stakeholders.
In an effort to capture as wide a cross section of the population of the province as possible it is very much intended to be a grassroots initiative that encompasses not just those who have experienced success in the education system, but equally those who the system has failed.
There is a strong focus on establishing whether education in its current format is meeting the needs of all society. This means engaging the public in the dialogue as to how they see the role of the school and education – not overlooking the fact that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula since the needs are often as varied as the communities themselves.
Ultimately education is far too complex to be neatly packaged into a prescriptive, arguably questionable, set of arbitrary goals that in the long run won’t serve the purpose the education system was intended to. Statistics and data can never be the sole formula for success when it comes to education. The primary goal must always be to produce wellrounded citizens.
The reality is that many of the factors that contribute to student success (or lack of same in some instances) are well outside the purvey of the school itself. Societal ills such as poverty and inadequate housing, for example, can not be dismissed as mere external factors since they can not be separated from a student’s ability to successfully navigate the education system.
Premier Scott Moe has said that “not a wheel turns in the province without education” and that is undeniably true. Ironically though it’s a simple statement with a complex and often challenging task of how do we enhance the education system.
Ideally, by working collaboratively the future can somehow unfold the way all society can benefit from. Education is far too important to be considered an expense more so than an investment. It would be in everyone’s best interest to keep that poignant message foremost in our thinking. Not just during Education Week but all year round. Most assuredly it is worth our collective interest and imagination. There is rich potential to contribute to our future.
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) is engaged in a comprehensive research and public consultation process that will “Re-Imagine Education”. The goal is to develop a new vision for the future of public education based on the needs and desires of students, parents and the broader Saskatchewan community.