Driver’s education leading to obtaining a licence should be part of the public school curriculum, says the District of Houston council.
And its taken its campaign to education minister Rob Fleming who has responded with a letter encouraging the district to contact School District 54.
While Fleming did acknowledge the value of obtaining a driver’s licence, he noted that it is not a mandator requirement of the general curriculum set out by his ministry.
But, added Fleming, the “provincial curriculum allows significant flexibility for districts to adapt their programs to suit their local context.”
And, he said, local school districts can offer courses providing elective credits towards graduation.
For its part, the District of Houston council says the ability to obtain a driver’s licence in high school is critical in smaller communities in rural and northern parts of the province.
“There are no taxi companies, community buses, or inter-community buses for residents who want to work or attend post-secondary schooling in neighbouring communities,” Houston mayor Shane Brienen stated in a letter to Fleming about the situation here.
“This lack of transportation restricts residents who cannot drive from participating in the labour force and local economy, which emphasizes the importance for individuals to be able to drive in order to maintain their independence and access the necessities of life.”
“This can ensure that all youth are given the opportunity for socio-economic success in adulthood,” Brienen added of the importance of having a driver’s licence.
The District of Houston will now be taking up its cause with School District 54.
School District 54 superintendent Michael McDiarmid says requests for local courses usually come from schools and are created by teachers.
“I am sure those requests would be based on suggestions from the school community. So if a person wanted a course offering through their school, it would be the school that proposes the curriculum to the board,” he said.
“We have several board-authorized courses in place already in our district. Courses are usually proposed when teachers/students are interested in learning about that is not covered in current curriculum offerings.”
Two examples of such courses are Basketball Academy 9-12 and Leadership 10-12.