Students becoming voice in own education

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Online survey provides opportunity to have views heard

TRURO - Students wanting to be a voice in how they are educated can have their concerns and ideas heard.

Mike Henderson, left, and Donna O'Connell, two members of the Minister's Panel on Education, talked with students at Cobequid Educational Centre on Wednesday, including Sebastien Gibson and Brennan Beal, about what's working and what isn't inside the education system. A survey is available online to capture residents' views on education.

On Wednesday, 10 students at Cobequid Educational Centre met with Mike Henderson and Donna O'Connell, two members of the provincial education Minister's Panel on Education.

"Education is a really important thing," said Brennan Beal, a Grade 11 student. "In the western North American society, it's mandatory. I like that we have options and choices. CEC is a big school but we have a lot of options for courses."

Beal said that when a student is enrolled in International Baccalaureate, or IB, there are no requirements for what courses to take.

"I had problems doing IB," said Grade 12 student Emily Prescott, adding she had problems fitting some courses into her schedule. "If you do IB, you can't necessarily get a good career."

One of the things students hope would change, especially with the IB program, is offering more courses.

"I understand it would be hard because you would need more teachers and a lot of certifications," said Prescott.

"And I think the classes might be too small," added Beal. "I wanted to take IB music, but I would have been the only one in the class, so it wasn't really worth it."

The students also let panel members know that they were happy with other options available to them through the education system, aside from courses.

"There are countless things you can do through clubs, and the guidance counselor is always there to help you," said Natalie Hearn, a Grade 12 student.

During the session, students filled out a few pages of the survey the province has launched and is looking for feedback on until June 13.

While it was a condensed version, students said they will fill out the full one online before the deadline.

"I think the voice of the youth is really important," said Beal. "When you look at statistics, a lot of youth when they turn 18 or 19 don't vote. It's sad."

"I think our education gets taken for granted," added Grade 12 student Sebastien Gibson, who said some students only attend school because they have to. "But in a lot of places, youth don't have that opportunity."

While the survey has been available for about a month, some of the students just got word about it.

"Make us aware of it," said Leanna Langille, in Grade 12, about how to entice their fellow classmates to take the survey. "Put it on the announcements."

Henderson said the survey is also available to other partners, not just students.

"We want to hear from them - parents, the community ... but we don't want students to be under-represented," he said.

The panel has until the fall to collect and analyze the data before preparing a report for the education minister.

The survey is available at novascotia.ca/review. The deadline to complete the survey is June 13.

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

 

Organizations: Cobequid Educational Centre, North American

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