The president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association says students will notice larger class sizes and receive less individual attention when they head back to school next month.
Fewer courses are also being offered at the high school level and Guy Arseneault says the provincial budget, which eliminated 249 teaching positions, is to blame for the changes.
“The government is asking teachers to do more with less,” says Arseneault. “Cutbacks have impacted the literacy mentors, the numeracy mentors right where we need them the most, and these 249 cuts will do the same.”
The provincial government says the cuts are justified because fewer students are enrolled in school. New Brunswick Education Minister Serge Rouselle says the department’s budget increased by $33 million this year with much of that money going to literacy, numeracy and science programs.
“My message to parents is to be vigilant, to make sure their son or daughter is taken well care of at school and they will be by teachers,” says Arseneault.
More than half of all New Brunswickers are considered to have literacy skills below what is needed in today’s workforce and advocates agree that parents should be vigilant.
“So they can provide supports to the school, teachers who are doing their best in the limited four hours a day in the public school system,” says Frank Hayes, president of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick.
The province says the cuts will save about $12.5 million this school year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore