Albertans want school curriculum to have more focus on basic math and literacy skills and better prepare students for careers and post-secondary studies, a provincial survey found.
Education Minister David Eggen said the two-part survey posted online last fall found people wanted fewer calculcators in elementary school classes, and more financial literacy lessons starting as early as elementary school.
“Albertans certainly agree that this work on curriculum is long overdue, and they want to play an active role in the process,” Eggen told reporters gathered in the wood shop at Edmonton’s Westmount Junior High School Thursday morning.
Last year, Eggen unveiled the most ambitious and wide-reaching K-12 school curriculum review ever proposed in Alberta. All subjects in all grades will be reviewed and rewritten simultaneously in both English and French over six years in an attempt to improve consistency and co-ordination across all topics.
The first of many public consultations began in October, when a two-part survey was posted online.
The first part posed 11 statements about the value of diversity, inclusion, skills and connections to careers in K-12 education, and asked respondents whether they agree or disagree. For example: “Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum should reflect the diversity of Alberta’s population.”
Albertans strongly supported the concepts of students being accountable for their actions, demonstrating integrity and respect, and developing imagination and curiosity, with more than 94 per cent agreeing with those priorities.
There was less support for a curriculum that reflected diversity, included First Nations, Metis and Inuit content, and more Francophone perspectives.
The government heard from 32,391 people in Part 1, 47 per cent of who were parents or guardians, and 31 per cent of who were teachers.
The second part of the survey, which was nearly 200 pages in document form, covered each subject area in the current curriculum by grade level. It asked which of the current objectives need more or less emphasis in classroom lessons, whether the topics are covered from adequate cultural perspectives, and how important it is that subjects are covered in separate courses. For example, the survey queries whether elementary school drama, art and music should be separate classes, or could be combined. There’s was also space for written comments. There were 25,615 people who responded to the detailed questions, 65 per cent of who said they were not teachers.
The survey was posted online until Nov. 18.
Eggen has said the survey is one of many opportunities the public will have during the next six years to give input.
The curriculum redesign is part of a wider “Future Ready” campaign announced Tuesday by Premier Rachel Notley. It is supposed to prepare people for modern careers in Alberta with initiatives from pre-kindergarten through to when they join the workforce.