A local MLA is concerned with the recently renewed government and teacher’s contract.
Grande Prairie-Wapiti’s Wayne Drysdale says rural students will suffer because teacher hours have been capped.
“I don’t want to assume anything, but I assume a lot of the teachers are still volunteering some of their hours, but I guess with this contract they don’t have to, and so you know it is going to affect sports teams and extra curricular, maybe some field trips and stuff because now the teachers have caps on the hours they can work.”
Instructional hours have been capped at 907 per teacher each year with total assignable time at 1,200 hours.
Drysdale worries capped hours will lead to shortfalls for rural students.
“You know in the small schools we only have a few teachers to supervise these field trips, basketball tournaments or whatever, it’s going to put a limit on the time they can spend doing that.”
Despite his concerns, President of the Alberta Teachers’ Association Mark Ramsankar doesn’t believe that will happen.
“The amount of time that children are going to be exposed to teaching won’t change,” Ramsankar explained. “In my view, there shouldn’t be a disadvantage. What you’re trying to do is make sure that teachers’ aren’t extending so much time of extraneous things.”
“If you’re finding that you’ve got a teacher working 1,000 hours, opposed to 907, you’re going to have to hire somebody to be able to pick some of that up. The children are going to get a much better experience.”
Ramsankar says volunteering is still expected of their teachers, it’s simply just not required as it has been in the past.
The contract is retroactive to this past September and runs through to August 31, 2018.
With files from Trevor Snell