Monday, 24 November 2014

EDUC 1F95 - Seminar 11 - CBC News Article

CBC NEWS- Posted: Mar 12, 2014 6:59 PM MT Last Updated: Mar 12, 2014 8:26 PM MT

The Alberta government plans to include oil and gas companies in consultations on the new school curriculum.

School boards were asked to come up with groups to provide input on what children should learn.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson is defending the decision to include oilsands companies in consultations on Alberta's new school curriculum. (CBC)

The Edmonton Public School Board plans to ask oilsands companies Suncor and Syncrude what to teach children in kindergarten to Grade 3.

"What are we looking for in the graduates of tomorrow. Certainly we have a perspective but we need to hear all stakeholders," said Mark Liguori, assistant superintendent of schools for Edmonton Public.

Education minister Jeff Johnson thinks including the business community in discussions will help.
"One of the things I think they may be able to help with is how do we attract kids to that side of the business, science technology and engineering piece of the education system that so much of the economy is telling us we're short on," he said.

However, NDP education critic Deron Bilous thinks this is the first step in allowing corporations to influence Alberta schools, which he worries may go too far.

"There's also examples in the United States where coal companies have been involved in curriculum design where they've written a completely one-sided view speaking only of the benefits," he said. 
Johnson says companies are only providing input and will not write the curriculum.

Syncrude and Suncor aren’t the only companies involved in curriculum consultations. Stantec, PCL Construction, Apple and Microsoft Canada will also get a say.

Suncor has yet to receive an invitation to join the consultations. Syncrude hasn't decided whether it will take part.

Answers included are reflective of the conversations had in EDUC 1F95 Seminar 15 & 16 - Nov 21

1. Should oil and gas companies be allowed to influence curriculum? Why or why not? What impact do you think they would have?

The conversation began heated about this topic. The conversation shifted from who should be able to have a say to who already has a say in curriculum development. What really would be the disadvantages of Canadian companies having a say (not a definitive vote - just a say) in the content of curriculum? 

We discussed how society is always in need for the development of schools to foster youth into relevant, contributing members to local economy and society.  Shouldn't we have a curriculum and school system in place that aids students to developing into contributing members of society with the skills and knowledge needed to survive in that society as an adult. Who better to speak about the skills and needs in demand for that society than the companies on which help build the society? 

The consensus was that companies should be able to have a say but that means all Canadian companies. Allowing certain companies influence and others not can create a biased curriculum with skewed skill sets and societal competencies. The final vote in curriculum standards and content should be left with educational professionals and researchers. They should be considering a holistic view of Canadian needs and skills for a successful society. This includes but cannot be limited to assessing the influence of economic companies. 


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