HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s opposition parties are calling on the Liberal government to delay its promised expansion of pre-primary classes for four-year-olds until next fall.
The Progressive Conservatives and the NDP say the lack of information around such things as staffing levels and curriculum so close to the beginning of the school year means consultation is needed to ensure the program is sound.
Tory education critic Tim Halman says at this point it appears the government is moving too quickly to fulfil a campaign promise rather than focusing on the details of how the program will work.
The government has said it hopes to have the program in place by late September, but Halman says the government should take another year in order to ensure it will have appropriate staffing levels in place.
NDP education critic Claudia Chender says taking “a step back” would also give the government an opportunity to minimize the impact on private, non-profit providers who fear losing staff to the public system.
Last week the Education Department said while school boards are reporting “early interest” in job postings for early childhood educators, several of the competitions still hadn’t closed.
First announced in April, pre-primary became a major Liberal promise during the spring election campaign: the program is to be introduced across the province over the next four years at a cost of $49.9 million a year.