FREDERICTON (GNB) – Under new 10-year education plans, the provincial government will invest the most in public education in the province’s history, and shift the focus to government setting goals while giving local schools and school districts the tools to reach those goals according to their own challenges and opportunities.

“We understand how important education is to New Brunswickers,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “We understand that they want local school leaders to have the flexibility on how best to deliver education to our children. As a kid, I grew up all over New Brunswick attending several different schools in both the anglophone and francophone systems. With the release of the education plans, we are getting things done to ensure future generations have a high-quality and accountable education system.”

The plans, entitled Everyone at Their Best for the anglophone sector and Donnons à nos enfants une longueur d’avance for the francophone sector, identify objectives for the early learning and education system and establish clear expectations for standards and performance.

The plans include priority areas such as establishing a culture of belonging; improving literacy and numeracy skills; ensuring proficiency in fundamental language skills; and fostering leadership, citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit. The primary areas of focus for the first year are literacy, numeracy, career and life readiness and early childhood development.

A performance management process will be used to establish objectives and track progress. Before the beginning of each school year, the department will work with school districts and key early childhood partners to develop an implementation plan for each sector which will outline objectives for the year and how goals will be met. In turn, progress will be measured and accountability reports will be completed.

“We know that there are no quick fixes when it comes to improving our early learning and education system,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny. “These long-term plans focus on priority areas where we need to see results such as improving literacy and numeracy skills and early childhood development. Throughout the summer we have been working with school districts on developing the objectives of the plan and, as recommended by the co-chairs, we will continue to collaborate with the districts, schools and early childhood stakeholders to determine how, together, we can achieve these objectives.”

For the first time, an extensive public consultation was undertaken to inform the development of the education plans. From the summer of 2015 to the spring of 2016, co-chairs Karen Power and Gino LeBlanc engaged experts, teachers, early childhood partners, students, parents, community and business leaders, school district personnel, district education councils, First Nations communities and others through a series of open houses, workshops, meetings and online engagement. More than 3,400 New Brunswickers participated. Power and LeBlanc submitted their recommendations to the government in June 2016. The objectives outlined in these plans are based on what was heard during the consultation.

The education plans are available online.