Sask. authorities rejected supply of assist from on-line faculty with 90% commencement price

Sitting in entrance of her laptop computer inside her Regina house this week, Lanea Lafontaine opinions her math homework with an on-line trainer.

Then she helps her youthful brother together with his science lesson earlier than they head out to volunteer at a care house and do some Christmas procuring with their mother. On different days, the aspiring physician takes afternoon guitar or martial arts classes.

“I actually like this faculty,” Lanea mentioned. “It gives the flexibleness that I would like. I can end my faculty at anytime of the day, in addition to attain out to academics with the boldness that they’re going to reply to me.”

Lanea, 15, is certainly one of tons of of scholars attending the Saskatoon-based Flex ED on-line faculty, a personal however government-funded and tuition-free establishment.

It is certainly one of greater than a dozen on-line colleges throughout the province, but it surely stands out as a result of its commencement charges over the previous two years have been 85 and 90 per cent, whereas the common commencement price for full-time on-line college students throughout the province is simply 44 per cent. The bulk fail or drop out earlier than acquiring their highschool diploma.

Earlier this month, the federal government introduced it could centralize on-line schooling throughout the province in partnership  with the space studying centre headquartered on the Solar West College Division in west-central Saskatchewan. It had a web based commencement price for its full-time college students of simply 26 per cent, based on the provincial auditor.

Lanea Lafontaine helps her brother with a science lesson, a part of the instructing and mentoring strategies utilized by their Saskatoon-based on-line faculty, Flex ED. (Vashisth Trivedi/CBC)

The Training Ministry didn’t choose Flex ED with its wonderful commencement charges, though its officers have repeatedly provided to assist.

“I do not know why they have not taken us up on any presents for assist as a result of, you recognize, we have had 17 years expertise, we’ve got extremely skilled employees and I personally have my masters diploma in on-line schooling,” Flex ED principal Ann Cook dinner mentioned.

“We embraced an modern and collaborative method and so we proceed to attempt to work with the ministry and others as a lot as we will. If they might settle for our presents, we’d be glad to work with them.”

Cook dinner confirmed CBC Information e mail exchanges with Ministry of Training officers relationship again greater than two years. She provided free session initially of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist academics and officers scrambling to maneuver college students on-line.

“Thanks in your supply. Presently we’re not feeling the necessity for any consulting providers on this space,” a ministry official wrote.

Choice a shock

Cook dinner says she was shocked to listen to in regards to the plan to centralize on-line studying with Solar West named because the accomplice.

“We weren’t invited to take part in any tendering course of, if there was one, however we actually may assist the ministry. Now we have a system that’s well-established and we positively may assist others,” she mentioned.

Cook dinner pointed to the report by Saskatchewan’s auditor this yr that mentioned Solar West wants to make sure academics talk extra ceaselessly with college students, create higher guidelines to make sure academics do not fall far behind on marking, and replace programs haven’t been modified in additional than a decade.

Liu Lafontaine, second from proper, mentioned she’s glad she moved her youngsters from the Solar West College Division’s on-line faculty to Saskatoon-based Flex ED. She hopes the federal government will halt plans to accomplice with Solar West on a provincial centralization mission. (Vashisth Trivedi)

Flex ED has a complicated, real-time monitoring system to make sure college students do not fall by way of the cracks, Cook dinner says, including its programs are up to date yearly and generally extra typically. Cook dinner says each youngster who chooses on-line schooling ought to get the assist Lanea and her brother obtain. 

Training Minister Dustin Duncan declined interview requests. In an e mail, ministry officers highlighted Solar West’s years of on-line expertise, however didn’t reply questions on its 26 per cent commencement price.

Kelsey Shields, a principal within the city of Esterhazy who simply accomplished her doctoral diploma in on-line schooling, says the federal government’s choice to reject Flex ED would not make sense.

The federal government ought to at the very least discuss to Cook dinner and her employees, says Shields, whose childen examine on-line.

“I am not precisely positive what they do in another way however it could be intriguing to know,” Shields mentioned. “It has been profitable for them, clearly. I do hope the federal government does look and begin to ask questions on what everyone seems to be doing.”

Solar West assist missing, mother or father says

The Lafontaine kids attended Solar West first, however their mom, Liu Lafontaine, says they weren’t getting assist: There was little communication amongst academics, college students and oldsters.

She transferred them to Flex ED, and says she’s not shocked by the super distinction in commencement charges. She says the federal government is partnering with the mistaken faculty.

“I might not need my kids to go to a college the place the commencement statistics are 26 per cent,” Lafontaine mentioned. “Our province ought to be guaranteeing these colleges with greater statistics can proceed on, and that we put forth college students that graduate and do good for our province, our group and all of Canada.”

Flex ED’s future is unclear. Catholic and personal colleges are exempt from centralization in the mean time, however Cook dinner says it seems Flex ED and others might need to evolve to Solar West’s mannequin.

She says she has not heard again from Training Minister Dustin Duncan after expressing her considerations this month.

College of Saskatchewan assistant professor Paula MacDowell says the federal government has mishandled the file, however there may be nonetheless time to confess errors and get it proper.

“College students do have to graduate. If [Flex ED] is serving to college students to complete, there’s a lot to study from them,” MacDowell mentioned. “I might love to listen to why they’ve the excessive success charges.”

The Training Ministry “ought to take a while and never make choices earlier than speaking to folks,” she mentioned.

“Let’s construct on all this information. If they’ve figured some issues out, let’s study from that. After which let’s all be open and clear. Inform us why, and make it public.”

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