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September Update
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B.C. Home  September Update - Budget 2005  Message from the Minister and Accountability Statement

Message from the Minister and
Accountability Statement

Photograph -- Honourable Shirley Bond.I am pleased to present the Ministry of Education's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update — September 2005. This plan builds on government's work to improve student achievement, and will guide the ministry over the next three years. Our priorities are literacy, student health and physical activity, and making schools the centre of the community.

The Ministry of Education oversees the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system and, following the May 2005 election, was given responsibility for early learning, literacy and libraries. This broader mandate integrates a range of family education services that enables the ministry to improve coordination of learning and better serve the public. The ministry is working in partnership with other ministries across government to implement and achieve the government's Five Great Goals for the Golden Decade ahead.

Our first great goal is to make B.C. the best educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. The Ministry of Education will play a key role in reaching this goal. Last year, the Province invested $37 million in programs and resources to improve literacy rates, including funding to support innovative teaching practices, libraries, adult literacy, textbooks and a program for preschoolers. Now that the Ministry of Education is responsible for literacy services, the ministry will be able to address the needs of the whole family — from preschoolers to grandparents. We will continue to work in cooperation with other ministries and community and educational literacy partners to help British Columbians experience the benefits of knowing how to read, write, do math and use computers at school, work, and in their leisure time. In addition, we will be bringing our expertise to the rest of country as the lead province in literacy for the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.

The Ministry of Education will also play an integral part in helping the Province reach the second great goal: to improve public health care and lead the way in North America in healthy living and physical fitness. This year, the ministry will initiate a healthy schools plan to ensure our students are healthier and more physically active. The ministry will work with school boards, health professionals and vending machine companies to eliminate junk food from our schools over the next four years, and provide a free serving of B.C. grown fruits or vegetables to all students in public schools by 2010. We will also participate in ActNow! BC to help address chronic disease risk factors through programs and initiatives to support healthier eating, physical activity, ending tobacco use and promoting healthy choices during pregnancy.

Students, their parents and educators should have the assurance that they are in a safe environment. We are proceeding with a 15-year, $1.5-billion plan to make schools earthquake safe. Over the next three years, 95 of the highest priority schools will be upgraded. The ministry will also be working with school boards to examine ways to make schools the centre of communities, including a review of underused school facilities that could be used as daycare centres, senior's centres or parent centres.

Our government has also committed to building the best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities, special needs, children at risk, and seniors. For the first time, the ministry will begin tracking demographics and performance results for special needs students. This will help the province, school planning councils and school boards make plans for improving achievement for special needs students. An additional $28 million in funding for students with special needs will help us to build a stronger system of support for these students.

Another of government's great goals is to create more jobs per capita than anywhere else in Canada. Our education system plays a critical role in the social and economic development of our Province. We have increased choices so that students can take courses and attend schools that support their career goals. B.C. is a leader in trades and technology training, and we will continue to invest in training and promote secondary school apprenticeship programs to high school students.

It is impossible to achieve our goals without the knowledge, dedication and hard work of teachers. Our government will be hosting an annual teacher's congress that will provide an opportunity for the Premier and ministers to speak directly with teachers from across the province and listen to their ideas for bringing out the best in education.

Our education system is already one of the best in the world. To continue to meet the needs of today's learners, we must always strive to improve. This Service Plan Update sets out our goals and performance measures for our education system as we build hope, prosperity and opportunity for British Columbia.

The Ministry of Education's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update September 2005 was prepared under my direction, in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of August 31, 2005 have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.


Honourable Shirley Bond
Minister of Education
and Minister Responsible for Early Learning and Literacy

August 31, 2005

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