News & Media

Premier Announces New Science Education Action Plan

Premier Greg Selinger today announced a new Science Education Action Plan that includes $25 million over five years for science classroom renewal, teacher training and new strategic partnerships to promote Manitoba’s science programming.

“Manitoba’s new Science Education Action Plan will ensure that high-school students have access to the best labs and equipment, and are taught according to a continually updated science curriculum. Science education plays an increasingly important role in preparing Manitoba students for today’s high-technology marketplace, whether they are competing for jobs in the province’s health research and development field or designing new ways to harness wind power to generate electricity,” Selinger said. “Students need a solid understanding of science fundamentals as well as hands-on experience that engages their minds and their imaginations.”

Through the five-year, $25-million science classroom renewal program, approximately 12 to 15 high-school science classrooms per year will be refurbished with a potential of 75 science classrooms over the five year duration of the program.

“This is an important investment that will allow our province to compete and innovate far into the future,” the premier said.

School divisions will be asked to identify their science lab and classroom renovation priorities and will be eligible for a Science Enrichment Technology (SET) grant of up to $25,000 for lab equipment when the renovations are completed. This will mean more students will benefit from access to modern technologies such as Smart Boards, planetarium software, biomedical testing equipment and advanced digital microscopes, the premier said, adding the advanced equipment will allow them to work with green energy technology, do more complex experiments or work with biomedical testing and data analysis.

“Our investment will help our kids become the doctors, engineers, scientists and technologists of the future,” said Selinger.

The action plan will also offer new opportunities for science teachers to keep on top of changes in science and technology education, Selinger said. The government will provide a $50,000 grant to be used by school divisions in support of an ongoing professional development program for science teachers. This program will link teachers with university scientists and be delivered by a team of University of Manitoba researchers led by Dr. Francis Amara.

“We all want young people to succeed and much of their success can be attributed to their teachers who make science fun and interesting,” Education Minister Nancy Allan said. “Teachers give students the tools they need and engage them to help unravel the mysteries of the scientific world. If young people have a sound foundation in science, many doors will be open to them, from university training to job opportunities later in life.”

Allan noted other initiatives to support teachers include Let’s Talk Science, an award-winning charitable organization promoting scientific literacy for youth and a new multimedia resource to support the health physics component in the Grade 12 physics curriculum, which is in partnership with the Manitoba Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. A multimedia DVD support is now being developed in a partnership with the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre.

Manitoba’s high-school science curriculum has gone through a comprehensive update over the past several years. The new curriculum for Grade 12 biology will be distributed this spring. The action plan will continue this commitment to updating the science curriculum on an ongoing basis, the minister added.

The premier said the province is taking action with innovative programs to engage students in science education including the successful expansion of the Scientists in the Classroom program to include all kindergarten to Grade 12 classes next year. This program currently funds projects for students in grades 5 through 8. Other initiatives include:

* Funding for FortWhyte Alive, which recently received $140,000 for sustainable development education and outdoor alternatives to classroom settings.
* Funding of $450,000 for the construction of a new, 3,000-square-foot biomedical sciences teaching and learning laboratory and associated student-oriented classroom facility at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre in Winnipeg. This facility is available for all students in Manitoba.