The Ontario government says it is updating the science and technology curriculum for grades 1 to 9 in an effort to “modernize education.”
Officials said the changes will be implemented in September just in time for the 2022-23 school year “to to ensure all students have the foundational and transferable skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing world.”
Some updates include hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities and skills, coding across all grades, the impact of emerging technologies such as AI, engineering design process to invent and design innovative solutions, a focus on skilled trades, enhanced food literacy and environmental protection such as climate change and renewable sources of energy.
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The province said the elementary curriculum was last updated in 2007, and the now de-streamed Grade 9 course was last updated in 2008.
Officials said the curriculum revisions are much needed particularly due to advances in technology since it was last updated.
“There have been advancements in how students engage with science and technology and emergence of new technologies,” officials said. “Students need relevant learning opportunities connected to their everyday lives.”
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The government said educators will receive a key changes document, undergo webinars, and have a mandatory PA day on STEM. As well, parents will receive an overview guide.
However, in a statement emailed to Global News on Tuesday, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) president Karen Brown said ETFO only provided feedback to the ministry on March 3.
“Five days later, we have an announcement,” the statement reads. “We’re left wondering if anyone at the Ministry considered out input.”
Brown said school boards are “once again” left to “deliver insufficient professional learning on new curriculum on a compressed timeline.”
“The Ford government continues to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of how school boards and schools operate,” she said in the statement.
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