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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Education Meeting Calls For More Pressure On Ford Government

Southampton | by John Divinski  

About 70 people discussed teacher cuts, loss of programs and class size.

Photo By John Divinski 

Education, as seen through the eyes of the provincial government, was on the hot seat at a Community Education Forum in Southampton.

E-Learning, teacher cuts, increased class sizes and loss of specialty programs, were just some of the subjects on the table.

A panel made up of teachers, and support workers addressed the issues.

Not at the table was Ontario Education Minister, Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, who according to District 7 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, was invited.

Thompson was at Queen's Park, where the legislature was sitting in a night session.

In a letter to the group she states, the new vision for education will "modernize key aspects of the.....system....and better prepare students for the realities of today's modern world."

The plan to have students involved in mandatory e-Learning did not sit well with panelist Beyhan Farhadi, an e-Learning researcher and PhD candidate from the University of Toronto.

Farhadi says "To remove teachers from the classroom and then to tell students that they have to take a course on-line with next to no access to their teacher.....I think is a kind of common sense terrible idea."

She points out it puts education on an unlevel playing field, particularly for those in rural areas who don't have access to the resources needed.

Saugeen District Secondary School teacher Don Matheson, who also taught for many years in Chesley, says there's more questions than answers when it comes to e-Learning.

He wonders to what advantage is the proposal when many rural students don't have access to high speed Internet so they fall behind the kids in the urban areas, that do.

About 70 people who attended the meeting were urged to keep the pressure on the Ford government.

In an information sheet handed out, a website, www.hereforstudents.ca was mentioned as a way to send an email to Thompson or to Premier Ford on the education issue.

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