NDP: Pandemic staffing cuts leave students behind

Kid First Recovery Plan needed to help get kids back on track

REGINA - In light of recent Ministry of Education reports showing a significant staffing level decline in the 2021-22 school year, Opposition Critic for Education Matt Love called on the Government of Saskatchewan to stem the exodus of educators and develop a strategy to increase staffing and supports to get students back on track.

“Students were struggling before the pandemic and even more were set back by the learning disruptions caused by COVID-19,” Love said. “Now more than ever, kids are needing, and absolutely deserving, of extra support. But that support is just not there.”

Between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, 352 fewer educators were practicing in Saskatchewan school divisions. Including full time support positions, such as speech pathologists and psychologists, dropped by 330 over the same period, and social workers decreased by 23. Meanwhile, the number of K-12 students rose by 1,612.

“An increase in student enrolment should be cause for celebration,” Love said. “But in our inadequately staffed, inadequately funded school systems, it means overflowing classrooms. It means less expert attention and care for the kids that need it most. We cannot afford to nickel and dime our next generation.”

The Official Opposition is calling for the Government of Saskatchewan to immediately plan for a Kids First Recovery Plan to better recruit and retain educators to ensure the success of Saskatchewan’s students.

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