New study prompts call for political response

April 21, 2015
ATA News Staff

A new study drawing on international data identifies growth, complexity and intensity as three issues that need to be addressed through adequate resources for Alberta’s schools.

Teaching and Learning Conditions in Alberta: A Global Perspective looks in-depth at the data on Alberta’s education system contained in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) along with other Alberta research on classroom conditions. The OECD surveyed 106,000 teachers worldwide and nearly 2,000 teachers in Alberta as part of TALIS.

Study highlights

  • Since 2008, the number of students in Alberta’s schools has increased by 70,000.
  • Alberta’s classrooms are twice as likely as schools globally to include a significant number of students with special needs (51 per cent versus 26 per cent).
  • 41 per cent of Alberta classrooms include significant populations of students learning in a second language, compared with 21 per cent internationally.
  • Alberta’s teachers work on average 10 hours per week more than teachers elsewhere in the world.
  • Alberta’s teachers work the longest hours except for teachers in Japan.

“Alberta’s teachers are propping up a system under stress, and that is not sustainable,” said Association President Mark Ramsankar.

He said teachers support an inclusive education model but are in desperate need of classroom conditions and supports that will help ensure that all students succeed.

“Our teachers provide world-class education while teaching longer in larger and more complex classrooms. They need more support,” he said.

“Next year’s budget will increase the burden on teachers by increasing class sizes and eroding classroom supports. Party leaders and all candidates need to outline how they will address these issues.” ❚