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Cirriculum changes on the way

Posted on February 13, 2018 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Tim Kalinowski

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Southern Alberta Newspapers
Alberta will be rolling out a new curriculum for schools over the next five years.
A recent survey released by Alberta Education, which polled parents, teachers, students and the general public, suggested core curriculum, with a good emphasis on reading, math and writing skills, was of the highest priority to most.
“Building curriculum and normalizing curriculum is a big responsibility of the Ministry and Minister of Education,” said Alberta Education Minister David Eggen in a Feb. 6 interview.
“It is very important to ensure students have those skills of language mastery, in both written and spoken language, of mathematics and the critical thinking skills to be able to analyze and come up with logical solutions to problems in all areas.
“We also know some parts of our curriculum are between eight and even up to 30 years old, so it is high time we did a curriculum reform, and the public has a strong appetite for it.”
According to Eggen, the roundtable panels working on curriculum reform in the province are also looking at how Alberta’s education system might evolve to meet the needs of the future.
“Other areas of interest include financial literacy,” explained Eggen. “Now more than ever students need to be able to run household finances and be able to attend to taxes, and deal with digital currency … We are also looking at computer literacy at a more advanced level with an eye to the future as well.”
Part of those curriculum changes also must be updated to reflect the face of Alberta society, added Eggen, including in teaching in schools about the lessons learned through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and more reflection of Alberta’s diversity in course materials.
“It is very important our curriculum reflect the composition of our population here in 2018 in Alberta,” he said.
As part of the nod to Alberta’s diversity, new language courses will be introduced as options in all schools starting in 2018/2019, including Arabic, Italian, German, Ukrainian and other languages. Eggen acknowledged the potential for politicization of this issue and rejects it outright.
“This whole idea of controversy around so-called progressive education … If opposition members want to choose to pick a fight with this, it does not mean it is true. On my side, we have to ensure we are building basic, defensible curricular goals that will benefit the students.
“To insert the politicization of curriculum for the gain of whatever party wants to do that is ridiculous.”

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