Bouctouche (October 30, 2020) – The Official Opposition critic for Education and Early Childhood Development, Benoît Bourque, is calling on the Higgs Government to put a standardized absenteeism data collection policy in place for all school districts in the province.
“The pandemic has a way of highlighting problems in the way government functions. Recently, it has come to light that the school districts all have very different ways of collecting and managing absenteeism data,” says Benoît Bourque. “It’s worrisome that the Department of Education doesn’t have consistent information regarding the impact of Covid-19 on school attendance.”
While the problem came to light because of the ongoing pandemic, Bourque suggests having clear data on absenteeism in the province would be useful information even when schools return to normal.
“Having this information would allow the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to better identify any growing problems or trends and allow them to respond appropriately,” says the MLA. “Having the standardize data and statistics from all across the province would allow for a better analysis and action plan to deal with issues that may arise.”
With no idea when a vaccine for Covid-19 will become available, Bourque hopes the Minister of Education will not use the pandemic as an excuse not to act on the lack of absenteeism data.
“We may be living in a world of Covid-19 for months or even years to come, we can’t wait until things go back to normal to look at making administrative changes like this. The data collected could help us make evidence-based decisions for the good of our students during the pandemic and for years after,” says Bourque. “But how can we make evidence-based decisions without the evidence?”