If B.C. does end up being the most-literate province in Canada, it now appears it will be despite the Liberal government, not because of it.
The Liberals can argue all they want about how much education funding has increased, the fact remains it isn’t keeping up with inflation or the increased demand for more and more specialized courses. This means school districts, despite “more” money from Victoria, are still having to make cuts.
In many cases, the school library is one of the first targets of cuts. Students can find the books themselves, so we don’t need a fulltime librarian. Do we really need to keep our magazine subscriptions up to date? It doesn’t help the literacy rate of the students, which means we are raising a less-literate generation than we could.
We should also point out the basic definition of literacy is being able to read and write. There is nothing in that definition about being to dissect a sentence in a poem by an obscure 18th century Prussian. So maybe it’s time for the schools to tell the provincial government, “We’re going to teach the students to read and write and not much else. If you want your students to have other knowledge, give us real funding for it.”
It’s not just students who are currently getting the short end of the literacy stick from Victoria. It turns out the Ministry of Education has not yet released $17.7 million in grant funding for provincial libraries, and library boards are expecting more cuts coming to grants next year.
Libraries have seen a surge in use, with the recession meaning people can’t afford to buy as many books as they used to. Libraries have also started working together more, with provincially funded initiatives enabling a reader in Prince George to borrow a book in Kamloops and return it in Kitimat. That program may come to an end with the grant cuts, meaning what you see on the shelves of your local library is what you get.
So why would the provincial government, after promising that B.C. would be the most-literate province in Canada, start making cuts to programs which encourage literacy?
Maybe they realized a literate population is a knowledgeable population, and they figure the less people know about what the Liberals are doing, the better.
Makes you wonder.