News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 24, 2014

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES IMPORTANT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HELP STUDENTS SUCCEED IN EARLY YEARS

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Smaller Class Sizes, More One-on-one Time with Teachers will benefit Manitoba Students: Minister Bjornson

The Manitoba government is taking important steps to help children succeed by introducing a new bill that would introduce smaller classes for kindergarten to Grade 3 students, Education and Advanced Learning Minister Peter Bjornson announced today.

“We want our kids to get the strongest start possible so they have opportunities to go on to post-secondary education and good jobs,” said Minister Bjornson.  “We know how important the early years are for laying a strong foundation in math, reading and writing.  By reducing class sizes, we’re giving teachers more time to work individually with their students and help them get that strong start.”

Since the beginning of the smaller classes initiative, Manitoba has made good progress to ensure smaller classes including hiring over 300 teachers in partnership with school divisions.  With this new bill, school divisions across Manitoba would be required to ensure that 90 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes have 20 or fewer students, and 10 per cent of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes can have a maximum of 23 students by Oct. 15, 2017.

“We saw a convergence in the educational research and in our public and member poling several years ago," said, Paul Olson, president, Manitoba Teacher’s Society.  “All three pointed toward the need and the desire for smaller class sizes to help kids get a strong start.  This became good policy.  With the introduction of this bill, it should move from being good policy, to good law.  Manitoba students deserve no less.”

The Manitoba government is investing $10 million this year and 64 per cent of classes have met the target of 20 students or fewer, Minister Bjornson said.  Under the proposed legislation, Manitoba parents would also be able to go online to see class size number in kindergarten to Grade 3 in every school.

“Smaller class sizes in early years give students more one-on-one time with their teachers, which helps to enrich and enhance learning,” said Minister Bjornson.  “The benefits last throughout a student’s educational path.”

More information on the Manitoba government’s plan for smaller classes can be found at: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/smclass/.

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