Question Period (05.22.2012)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Education told this House that Newfoundland and Labrador’s student-teacher ratio is 11 to 1. That came as a surprise to kindergarten teachers who struggle to provide education to twenty students and more each day.

Can the minister explain why he appears so out of touch with the realities of kindergarten teachers and our schools?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the member did not listen really closely, because when I said it was 11.9 to 1, I included principals and guidance counsellors. The average class size, Mr. Speaker, in this Province is 18 to 1. I invite the member to go across this country and see if he can find something comparable, Mr. Speaker. Our student-teacher ratio is the best amongst the provinces in all of Canada, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: Mr. Speaker, Eric G. Lambert School in Churchill Falls will be offering an all-day kindergarten program this coming September. The funding for this all-day kindergarten program will be provided by Nalcor.

Can the Minister of Education explain why Nalcor seems to understand the educational needs of primary school students better than he does?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, the school in Churchill Falls has been what we will call a private school. It is a school that was established by the industry in that town at the particular time. We are doing research on all types of projects in the Province. The fact that this particular school has undertaken it is nothing unusual compared to what they have done in the past, Mr. Speaker. It might be another part of the research process. If they are entering into that, we will certainly consider what they garner from it, and if it is to our advantage, Mr. Speaker, we will use it.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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