VICTORIA – The Province is investing $2 million to enhance the recruitment and retention of teachers and other qualified education sector professionals to rural schools, Education Minister Mike Bernier and Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education Linda Larson announced today.
This investment will help support local and provincewide solutions for school districts with hard-to-fill positions in rural and remote communities.
This challenge has been a recurring topic of discussion through the Province’s ongoing engagement to create a rural education strategy.
In June 2016, Premier Christy Clark tasked Larson to work with the education sector, the public and community stakeholder groups to create a rural education strategy by the summer of 2017.
The goal is to find long-term solutions for the unique challenges facing rural schools, while recognizing the economic and social impact of single schools in small communities.
To date, there have been eight open houses throughout the province to engage the public and stakeholders on how government can best serve the educational needs of rural communities.
B.C.’s rural education strategy is expected to look at public school funding, facilities and the role education and schools play in rural communities.
Including the interim steps announced in January 2017, the recently concluded agreement with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) will result in the hiring of thousands of new teachers around the province.
This provincewide hiring drive adds significantly to the recruitment challenge faced by rural school districts for more teachers and education-sector professionals, such as certified educational assistants and human resource professionals.
The $2 million in provincial funding will flow to districts from the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association’s recruitment and retention program (Make a Future – Careers in B.C. Education) to be used for:
• free job posting services and access to an online teacher application management system;
• coordination of national and international recruitment efforts;
• local incentives, such as enhanced funding for travel expenses for professional development, relocation expenses and transitional housing assistance.
“Schools are the heart of our communities. We are taking action now to help rural school districts attract and keep teachers and educators” said Linda Larson, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education.
“This investment will help address those challenges and supports equality of opportunity throughout the province” said Teresa Rezansoff, president, B.C. School Trustees Association.
• In British Columbia, approximately 32% of the students in the K-12 education system attend schools located outside of the Greater Victoria, Lower Mainland and Kelowna areas – many in very small communities that use school facilities as a hub for community activities.
• Rural school districts in B.C. receive about 20% more funding per student than urban districts – and special supports like Rural Education Enhancement Funding.
• The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association created Make a Future – Careers in BC Education to increase recruitment and retention in B.C.’s public education sector.
Make a Future is a joint initiative between the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, all 60 boards of education, and the Ministry of Education.
Careers in B.C. Education: www.makeafuture.ca