Welcome to the conversation on rural education.

In the summer of 2016 Premier Christy Clark tasked me to work with the education sector and community stakeholder groups, as well as Donna Barnett, the Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, to create a Rural Education Strategy by the summer of 2017.

This review will explore rural school funding and educational practices, as well as the role educational programs and schools play in rural communities across the province. The final report coming out of this will include recommendations for the future, with a focus on the unique challenges facing rural school districts and recognizing the economic, social and cultural impact that schools have on small communities.

The citizen engagement process was designed to be inclusive so that a diverse array of feedback can be incorporated, including input from:

  • Rural families
  • Parents from rural and urban locations
  • First Nations
  • School boards
  • School district staff
  • Kindergarten to Grade 12 sector associations
  • Community organizations

Citizens participated in a number of ways.

Fall 2016:

  • Rural families, parents, community members and education leaders participated in an online discussion
  • Stakeholder groups, such as school boards, sector associations and local governments voiced their thoughts via formal submissions.
  • Input from school district staff with technical knowledge, such as superintendents and secretary treasurers, was sought via a survey about issues around funding, facilities, and educational programming.

Winter/early spring 2017:

  • A summary paper was posted to this site for public and stakeholder comment; and
  • I held a series of regional meetings to discuss with you what I heard face-to-face in your regions.

Now, feedback is being gathered on the future direction for rural educational programs and rural schools in the province. I am using this feedback to develop my final report, which I would like to release near the end of the current school year.

Thank you for your time and your participation in this important conversation.

Sincerely,

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Linda Larson
Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education