REGINA -- The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has released a report that will be used as a tool in developing a future education strategy in the province.

The report, called “Connections”, was compiled using feedback from school boards and other organizations province-wide.

Most responses said core academic subjects like math and reading along with contemporary life skills including budgeting, critical thinking and communication skills were important to the future lives of students and their learning.

Other responses surrounded the importance of character education, mental health and wellness, traditional life skills like cooking, and language and culture.

The next set of findings surrounded what roadblocks students face in their learning and well-being. Those responses highlighted mental health and wellness, basic needs like food and housing, and “technology distraction and misuse”, including comments relating mainly to cell phone use and video games.

For what’s working in the Saskatchewan education system, the results show approval for the programs, initiatives and reconciliation happening in the province’s schools like work placements, French Immersion and collaboration with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Other top answers covered good relationships between staff, students and the community. Also mentioned were division efforts to help teachers like professional development and supports for intensive needs students.

As for what needs work, the report found many calling for “responsive and student centered curriculum” that would be more relevant and flexible for both learners and teachers.

An equal number of responses called for more adequate funding to help with intensive needs students, educational assistants, and student-teacher ratios.

“Connections” has now been passed on to the Minister of Education to be used as a tool for future education planning, as the current provincial strategy ends in 2020.

“Our sincere thanks to all of the many diverse voices from across this province who engaged with this process and shared their views on the future of education,” SSBA president Shawn Davidson said in a release. “This is our input into this process on behalf of the local voices we represent.”

The full report can be viewed here.