January 26, 2004
Honourable Tom Christensen
Minister of Education
Since June 2001, our government has been working to implement our
New Era vision to revitalize the economy, restore sound fiscal
management, and put patients and students first.
Our New Era platform contained 201 specific commitments
that our government would undertake on behalf of British Columbians.
These included a commitment to "establish service plans that include
measurable performance standards and targets for all programs that
are annually audited and published, for all taxpayers to see."
On June 25, 2001, I sent your predecessor a letter of instruction
setting out the key priorities for your Ministry, including a list
of the New Era commitments assigned to your Ministry. These
commitments were also included in the Government Strategic Plan
and Ministry Service Plans that were tabled in the Legislature in
February 2002, covering fiscal years 2002/03 through 2004/05.
The Service Plan you are tabling today represents the final year
of the first three-year plans. And it shows that we have made significant
progress toward honouring our commitments. Specifically, of the
11 New Era commitments that involved your Ministry, the province
has now completed or begun work on all of these. Accomplishments
in your Ministry over the past two-and-a-half years include:
- Amended the School Act to increase choice and flexibility
in public schools.
- Announced new graduation requirements that will improve student
performance and better prepare students for life after high school.
- Restored education as an essential service in the Labour
Code, and guaranteed the right of parents to volunteer in
their children's school.
- Created School Planning Councils to give parents a greater role
in school planning and decisions that impact their children's
In the coming year, the province will continue work on a number
of priorities to honour the commitments that we have made. These
are detailed in your Ministry Service Plan, and include:
- Continue to implement policies that focus the attention of the
entire education system on continuous improvement of students'
- Remove barriers to flexibility and choice for school boards,
parents and students.
Continue to encourage parents to become more involved in the Kindergarten
to Grade 12 education system.
It is important to note that all of the province's achievements
to date, and our priorities for the year ahead, will be accomplished
while balancing the budget in 2004/05, and having significantly
increased funding for health care and education.
Clearly, we will do more if we can, as new resources are available,
to build on the funding priorities detailed in this Service Plan
– in a way that is consistent with our balanced budget commitment.
As our measures to revitalize the economy continue to create new
jobs, growth and investment, this will allow us to continue strengthening
public services for the benefit of British Columbians. Opportunities
like the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will showcase
British Columbia to the world and generate economic benefits all
across our province. Future service plans will further demonstrate
I know that you will continue to build on the progress your Ministry
has made. Let me conclude by thanking you for your commitment to
serving the best interests of all British Columbians.
Honourable Gordon Campbell
of British Columbia
Office of the Premier
9041 Stn Prov Govt.