Cooperation among provinces and territories was at the heart of discussions by education ministers at their meeting in St. John’s over the past two days.
Ministers held a special session on teacher preparation and met with representatives of the Canadian Association of Deans of Education.
“Our discussions today have helped us to gain a clearer picture of some of the key measures for attracting, developing, and retaining effective teachers,” said the Honourable Pierre Reid, Quebec’s Minister of Education and Vice-Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), who chaired the ministers’ meeting.
Ministers also recognized the importance of culturally relevant curriculum, particularly with regard to Aboriginal education.
Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promoting healthy living in schools. Jurisdictions plan to share best practices in this area, including information on physical fitness and weight control. Ministers will follow-up on this issue at their next meeting.
Ministers will continue their efforts to ensure that the new funding announced last March by the federal government for the official languages in education is applied in the most effective way.
They also agreed to continue their work in French-language education in minority settings (i.e., outside Quebec). A consortium of jurisdictions recently completed two important projects. One was the preparation of a kit on francisation activities for teachers working at the kindergarten to grade 2 level. The other was a project to determine why students in francophone schools in minority settings do not perform as well as other students in Canada in some key subjects.
Ministers agreed on a number of research activities in the area of credit transfer, which will be implemented under the responsibility of each jurisdiction. “It is extremely important that we, as education ministers, facilitate the transfer of credits among our colleges and universities,” said Minister Reid. “This is an area where CMEC plays an important leadership role.”
A progress report was also presented on the Pan-Canadian On-line Learning Portal, which, when completed, will provide improved access, in English and French, to learning resources for teachers, students, parents, and the general public. Ministers plan to launch the first stages of the portal in April 2004.
Election of new Chair
At the end of the meeting, ministers elected the Honourable Pierre Reid as the new Chair of CMEC. In keeping with CMEC practice, Quebec will fill the position of Chair for two years.
CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.
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