A new mandate for the Minister of Education
On September 23rd, Ontario’s Premier sent “mandate letters” to all of her Ministers.
The mandate letter focuses on skills, equity and experiential learning. Among the highlights:
Global competencies, guidance, apprenticeships
- …advance the goal of at least one experiential learning opportunity for every student by graduation, and expand the participation rate of grade 11 and 12 students in the Specialist High Skills Majors Program by 10%.
- Develop a modernized apprenticeship system focused on increasing completion rates, increasing the participation of traditionally under-represented groups, and creating clearer, better pathways for learners.
- Review the Guidance and Career Education curriculum to ensure that it exposes students to a variety of learning pathways.
- …update curriculum and assessment practices for the teaching of the global competencies that are necessary for the current and future economy, such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, self-direction, collaboration, communication, global citizenship and sustainability. This should include continued work to extend more play- and inquired-based learning into the elementary grades.
Indigenous education, special education, data collection
- …support mandatory learning about residential schools, build capacity in and better support transitions from First Nations schools, support Indigenous child care and family programs, close the achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and support Indigenous languages.
- …develop an access strategy to address the non-financial barriers to postsecondary education for underrepresented groups
- Develop a strategy to improve supports for children with special education needs in schools. The strategy should look at ways to improve school-based supports for students with autism spectrum disorder.
- …strengthen data collection, performance measurement, evaluation and public reporting on education in Ontario. As part of this work, continue to partner with York University on a feasibility study into collecting additional province-wide data, such as students’ race or parental education…
Math skills, science, civics
- …implement key elements of Ontario’s renewed math strategy…including math lead teachers and a minimum of 60 minutes each day of protected learning time for math in every elementary school. …ensure that educators have access to the supports they need to teach a curriculum that achieves a balance of understanding basic math concepts, gaining arithmetic skills, and developing thinking skills for advanced problem solving.
- …develop a strategy to provide students with exposure and access to the science, engineering and technology fields that considers opportunities for computer coding.
- Work to close the achievement gap and improve graduation rates for underrepresented groups of students such as Indigenous students, children and youth in care, students living in poverty, and students with special education needs.
- Enhance civic engagement opportunities in schools, including through updates to the civics curriculum for students, student and school participation in initiatives such as Student Vote…
- Engage with partners on Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education, including steps to establish a common understanding of what promoting well-being means in schools and to develop ways to measure progress in promoting child, student and staff well-being.
- … advance the goal for children and youth to have access to 60 minutes of activity connected to their school day, working with partner ministries.
- Promote the value of arts, including the visual and performing arts, in developing critical and creative thinking skills that support students’ well-being and success in school and in life.
Technology, Labour, College of Teachers
- …help Ontario’s publicly funded school boards gain equitable and affordable access to high-speed broadband services.
- Complete the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act review.
- Work with the Ontario College of Teachers and College of Early Childhood Educators to implement changes as part of the Protecting Students Act, if passed, to protect children and students by making the disciplinary process for the province’s educators more clear and transparent
- As part of this work, continue to support expanded capacity in child care to support parent choice and flexibility regarding child care options, with a goal of increasing the number of licensed spaces by 100,000 within five years, starting in 2017.
To read the complete letter, click here.