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Education minister offers revamped vision
Published Friday, February 2, 2018 6:20PM CST
Last Updated Friday, February 2, 2018 6:46PM CST
The province of Saskatchewan has a new education minister. Gordon Wyant was sworn in as the deputy premier and minister of education at a ceremony at Government House on Friday.
One of his first goals is creating a renewed dialogue with teachers and educators across the province.
"That's one of the things that I’m committed too, a new respectful dialogue with teachers. I've often said through this campaign, not a wheel turns in this province without a good education system, and that starts in the classrooms,” said Wyant.
During the Sask. Party leadership campaign, new premier Scott Moe proposed a $30-million increase to the education system. The money would be used to add 400 educational assistants and other education professionals to the classrooms. The Sask. Party is committed to fulfilling that campaign promise in the upcoming budget.
"Teachers are facing challenges in the classroom that they didn't face three and five years ago. They need supports in the classroom. I think a lot of that comes from educational assistance and so I think that's one of the key things that we need to look at as we roll out the new funding,” Wyant said.
The official Opposition is skeptical about the campaign promise happening, after the sector has seen cuts to funding to schools in recent years.
"This sector needs to be looked at so much more closely. It needs to be treated with the respect that it deserves. Hopefully we'll see that in the future, but actions speak louder than words, and we'll see what happens next,” NDP Leader Nicole Sarauer said.
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation welcomes the appointment of Wyant as education minister. But members also want to see money returned to the sector.
"The classrooms are really hurting now, so we need to restore that funding back, so that we can hire educational assistants, and hire aboriginal retention workers and all the supports we depended on in the classroom,” president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Patrick Maze said.
"So the first thing that I’m going to do is reach out to our stakeholders, the STA, the STF, the SSBA and other organizations that have a stake in public education in this province,” Wyant said.
Wyant plans to begin his work by getting a dialogue going, as he believes starting with a respectful conversation with stakeholders will lead to good things for public education.