Review of Sask. curriculum and high school grad requirements getting underway this week

A review of the Saskatchewan's curriculum and high school graduation requirements is set to begin this week.

The province announced the move in a news release Monday, listing a committee of education experts, parents and business officials.

Chris Scribe, director of the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP) at the University of Saskatchewan, says Indigenous knowledge must be a top priority for the review.

Scribe said that while it's important for Indigenous teachers and students to connect with their culture and history, every resident of Saskatchewan should be learning more about these areas.

"Incorporating Indigenous knowledge and incorporating that into any curriculum that comes forward is vital to creating relationships for the future of this province," said Scribe, who's also a former school principal.

Denis Wong/CBC

The review is expected to last three years. It will make recommendations to Education Minister Gordon Wyant.

"It's very much at a high level, looking a the big picture things...not down to specifics in any one curriculum," said Ministry of Education assistant deputy minister Susan Nedelcov-Anderson, who also serves as committee chair.

Nedelcov said she expects committee members to have diverse views, but thinks they can come together and make things better for students.

"I anticipate we'll have some very interesting conversations," she said.

Shaun Fallat, mathematics department head at the University of Regina, said he'd like to see an expansion of options to differentiate high school students with different goals. At the moment, those pursuing more technical or practical careers are taking some courses that prepare them better than those wanting to attend certain university fields.

Jason Warick

Fallat said he also wants the committee to realize what's currently done well, and not tamper with it.

"It's hard to please everyone. I'll be keeping an eye on this. I hope they don't do anything drastic," he said.

U of S curriculum studies professor Nat Banting says curriculum is important, but the quality of the teachers is far more important.

"When it comes down to it, training good teachers is number one," he said.