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The Ministry of Education says total funding to school districts in the coming fiscal year will reach $5.06 billion, and says that means it is up 31 per cent since the Liberals took control of the government in 2001.

The new Education Minister is Peace River South MLA, Mike Bernier – Among other things, he inherits the job of launching a three year transition to a new curriculum.

He says the new focus is on flexibility – still giving students the core subjects, but allowing them to participate in projects related to their interests, and targeting real life employment situations.

“We’re still focusing on the basic, it’s still around the reading, writing and arithmetic,” said Bernier.

“What’s really exciting about this new curriculum is along that personalized learning, more flexibility in the classroom for our children. We want to make sure our education system is flexible, to help them.”

The three year transition process to the new curriculum starts with kindergarten to grade nine students, and there will also be a renewed emphasis on accuracy – particularly when it comes to the aboriginal component.

“We’re insuring that, as we have this Aboriginal content, it’s really talking about what’s been good in the province of British Columbia, and even what’s been bad. It’s about being accurate as we go forward with our Aboriginal content in the classrooms.

BC now has 1,581 public schools and 350 independent ones, and full-time enrollment estimates are running slightly above 521,000 students.

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