CANADA LEARNING BOND

What is the Canada Learning Bond?

The Canada Learning Bond is an initial $500 offered by the Government of Canada to help you start saving now for your child’s education after high school.  Your child could also get $100 every year until age 15. In total, a child could receive up to $2,000 in an RESP.

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The money in an RESP can be used to pay for various expenses related to full-time or part-time studies in:

  • apprenticeship programs;
  • CEGEPs;
  • colleges;
  • trade schools; or universities.

Is my child eligible for the Canada Learning Bond?

Your child is eligible to receive the Canada Learning Bond if he or she:

  • was born on or after January 1, 2004;
  • is a resident of Canada;
  • has a valid Social Insurance Number;
  • is from a low-income family; and
  • is named as a beneficiary in an RESP.

Children in care, for whom a Children’s Special Allowance is payable, automatically qualify for the Canada Learning Bond.

What is a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)?

An RESP is an education savings account that helps you, your family or your friends save early for a child’s education after high school.

The Canada Learning Bond is money directly deposited by the Government of Canada into an RESP for children of low-income families. You do not need to add any money in the RESP for a child to receive the Canada Learning Bond.

Why should I save for my child’s education?

Saving just a dollar a day can make a difference.

With a RESP, you can help turn your child’s dreams into reality. In addition to the Canada Learning Bond, if you add money to the RESP for your child’s education after high school, he or she could receive the Canada Education Savings Grant.

What is the Canada Education Savings Grant?

The Canada Education Savings Grant is money deposited by the Government of Canada into an RESP for your child.  The amount could be up to $500 per year, depending on how much you contribute to an RESP for your child. If your family income is low, it could also provide an   additional amount of up to $100 each year in the RESP. A child could receive a total of up to $7,200 in Canada Education Savings Grants in an RESP for their studies after high school.

Will the Canada Learning Bond money affect other Government of Canada benefits I receive?

The Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant will not affect other Government of Canada benefits.

How do I open an RESP and get the Canada Learning Bond and Canada Education Savings Grant for a child?

You can open an RESP at a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union, or through a certified financial planner or a group plan dealer. These institutions, planners and dealers are known as RESP providers.

Step 1 – Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for your child. It’s free. Call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232), click canada.ca/social-insurance-number for more information or visit a Service Canada Centre near you.

Step 2 – Find an RESP provider that offers the Canada Learning Bond.  Some RESP providers may ask you to pay for their services, and put conditions on RESPs, so it is important to ask the right questions and get all the facts to ensure you find the RESP provider that is right for you.

You may wish to ask:

  • if they offer the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings  Grant;
  • what types of RESPs they offer (family, individual or group) and the advantages and risks of each;
  • what investment products they offer and the advantages and risks of each; and
  • what their administration fees and penalties are.

For additional questions to help you find the RESP provider that best suits your needs, visit the RESP page on Canada.ca.

Step 3 – Open an RESP. You can ask the RESP provider to help you complete the application form entitled:  “APPLICATION: Basic and Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and Canada Learning Bond (CLB)”.

Where can I get help or more information?

Gouvernement of Canada

1 800 O-Canada (1‑800‑622‑6232)

TTY: 1-800-926-9105

Visit a Service Canada Office near you.

By mail:

Canada Education Savings Program

Employment and Social Development Canada

140 Promenade du Portage, Portage IV, Mailstop:

Bag 4 Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

Canada Revenue Agency

for questions about income tax

1-800-959-8281

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

for information to help you better manage your money

1-866-461-3222

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BON D’ÉTUDES CANADIEN

Qu’est-ce que le Bon d’études canadien?

Le Bon d’études canadien est une somme  initiale de 500 $ que le gouvernement du Canada vous offre pour vous aider à mettre de l’argent de côté dès maintenant pour les  études de votre enfant après le secondaire. Votre enfant pourrait également recevoir 100 $ par année jusqu’à l’âge de 15 ans.

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Au total, votre enfant pourrait recevoir  un montant maximal de 2 000 $ dans un REEE.

L’argent du REEE peut être utilisé pour  payer diverses dépenses liées aux études à temps plein ou à temps partiel dans :

  • un programme d’apprentissage;
  • un cégep;
  • un collège;
  • une école de métiers;
  • une université.

Mon enfant peut-il recevoir le Bon d’études canadien?

Votre enfant a droit au Bon d’études  canadien :

  • s’il est né le 1er janvier 2004 ou après cette date;
  • s’il est un résident du Canada;
  • s’il a un numéro d’assurance sociale valide;
  • s’il est issu d’une famille à faible revenu;
  • s’il est désigné comme bénéficiaire d’un REEE.

Les enfants pris en charge qui sont admissibles à une allocation  spéciale pour enfants sont  automatiquement admissibles au Bon d’études canadien.

Qu’est-ce qu’un régime enregistré d’épargne-études?

Un régime enregistré d’épargne‑études  (REEE) est un compte d’épargne pour les études qui aide les parents, la famille ou les amis à mettre de l’argent de côté pour les études d’un enfant après le secondaire.

Le Bon d’études canadien est déposé directement par le gouvernement du Canada dans un REEE pour un enfant issu d’une famille à faible revenu. Vous n’avez pas à déposer de l’argent dans le REEE pour que l’enfant reçoive le Bon d’études canadien.

Pourquoi devrais-je mettre de l’argent de côté pour les études de mon enfant?

Chaque dollar compte!

En ouvrant un REEE, vous pouvez aider votre enfant à réaliser ses rêves. Si vous ajoutez de l’argent au REEE pour payer les études de votre enfant après le secondaire, celui‑ci pourrait recevoir la Subvention  canadienne pour l’épargne‑études en plus du Bon d’études canadien.

Qu’est-ce que la Subvention canadienne  pour l’épargne-études?

La Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne‑études, c’est de l’argent que le gouvernement du Canada verse dans le REEE de votre enfant. Le montant versé peut totaliser jusqu’à 500 $ par année et il varie selon l’argent que vous versez dans  le REEE. Si le revenu de la famille est faible, le gouvernement pourrait verser un montant supplémentaire d’au plus 100 $ par année  dans le REEE. Un enfant pourrait recevoir un total de 7 200 $ en Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne‑études dans un REEE pour payer ses études après  le secondaire.

Si je reçois le Bon d’études  canadien, est-ce que je pourrai continuer à recevoir les autres prestations que je reçois du gouvernement du Canada?

Le Bon d’études canadien et la Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne‑études n’ont aucun effet sur les autres prestations du gouvernement du Canada.

Que dois-je faire pour ouvrir un REEE et recevoir le Bon d’études canadien et la Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne-études pour un enfant?

Pour ouvrir un REEE, vous devez passer par une institution financière, comme une banque ou une caisse populaire, ou consulter un courtier en régime collectif ou un planificateur financier agréé. Ces institutions, courtiers et planificateurs sont appelés « fournisseurs de REEE ».

Étape 1 – Demandez un numéro  d’assurance sociale (NAS) pour votre enfant. C’est gratuit.

Pour plus d’information, composez le 1 800 O‑Canada (1‑800‑622‑6232),  consultez le canada.ca/numero‑assurance‑sociale ou visitez un Centre Service Canada près de chez vous.

Étape 2 – Trouvez un fournisseur de REEE qui offre le Bon d’études canadien. Certains fournisseurs exigent des frais pour leurs services et imposent des conditions pour les REEE. C’est pourquoi vous devez poser les bonnes questions et bien vous renseigner afin de trouver le fournisseur de REEE qui répond le mieux à vos besoins.

Vérifiez :

  • s’il offre le Bon d’études canadien et la Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne-études;
  • quels types de REEE il offre (familial, individuel ou collectif) et les avantages et risques de chacun;
  • quels produits de placement il offre et les avantages et risques de chacun;
  • quels sont les frais administratifs et les pénalités.

Visitez la page des REEE sur canada.ca  pour obtenir une liste de questions à poser à votre fournisseur de REEE afin de trouver  celui qui répond le mieux à vos besoins.

Étape 3 – Ouvrez un REEE. Vous pouvez  demander au fournisseur de REEE de vous  aider à remplir le formulaire de demande intitulé « Demande : Subvention canadienne pour l’épargne études (SCEE) et Bon d’études canadien (BEC) ».

Où puis-je obtenir de l’aide ou plus d’information?

Gouvernement du Canada

1 800 O-Canada (1‑800‑622‑6232)

ATS : 1-800-926-9105

Visitez un Centre Service Canada  près de chez vous

Par la poste :

Programme canadien  pour Emploi et Développement social Canada

140, promenade du Portage,  Portage IV, Arrêt postal :

sac 4  Gatineau (Québec) K1A 0J

Agence du revenu du Canada

pour toute question concernant l’impôt  sur le revenu et les prestations

1-800-959-7383

Agence de la consommation en matière  financière du Canada

pour tout renseignement relatif à la meilleure gestion de son argent

1-866-461-3222

The Copyright Resource for Teachers : CopyrightDecisionTool.ca

There is a great on-line resource to help teachers determine whether fair dealing permits them to use short excerpts from copyright-protected materials for the students in their classrooms.

CopyrightDecisionTool.ca helps teachers decide, with a few clicks, whether the fair-dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits copying of short excerpts from print materials, artistic works, or audiovisual materials for students without having to get copyright permission.

So, the next time you wonder, “Can I use this in the classroom? Can I copy it?” the answer is at your fingertips! It takes 30 seconds on CopyrightDecisionTool.ca to have your copyright questions answered. By clicking through this user-friendly resource, teachers will know how to apply fair dealing and whether their use of the copyright-protected materials is “fair.”

www.CopyrightDecisionTool.ca

CopyrightDecisionTool.ca informs teachers about their rights and obligations when they use copyright-protected works of others. It will ensure that they better understand the law and the application of the Fair Dealing Guidelines. There are other important copyright resources all teachers should become familiar with:

All of these resources can be printed for teachers’ easy reference.

CopyrightDecisionTool.ca is a helpful resource to keep teachers on the right side of the law. It is important for teachers to know their rights under Canada’s copyright law, and it is very important for them to know their limits. When in doubt about whether a use is fair dealing, use the Copyright Decision Tool.

Visit (and bookmark!): www.CopyrightDecisionTool.ca

 

Looking ahead to 2018 — nationally and professionally

By H. Mark Ramsankar

I became the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) President in July 2017. These first few months have been exciting, fast paced, trying yet fulfilling. So much has happened in such a short period of time. What is of interest is the speed at which time has travelled. Six months seems like a long time yet here we are; closing out another year and heading into a new one. So, what have I learned in this new role and what might be ahead as we travel into 2018?

In 2017, the well-being of our schools was the theme of CTF’s pre-AGM Canadian Forum on Public Education, and youth mental health was the focus of our 2015 federal election campaign. These remain our focal priorities as we continue to advocate for safe and caring schools across Canada. A key issue of concern for Canadian teachers is the mental health and well-being of our students and teachers. Given the incredible diversity of Canadian classrooms and schools; providing the necessary supports and services for students identified with special academic needs and facing mental health challenges are absolutely critical. Sadly, resources and supports continue to lag in this age of austerity.

Our national collective bargaining conference in June 2017 found our Member organizations indicating and reporting an increase in the number of incidences concerning violence in Canadian classrooms. Education is a dynamic sector in all our provinces and territories. Outside influences on Canadian classrooms are very real and generally beyond a teacher’s influence or control.

The critical lack of supports and resources for children with serious behavioral issues has led to a rise in violent outbursts placing students and teachers at risk. Our schools need stronger funding bases and resources for special education, a comprehensive approach to supporting children’s mental health as well as health and safety protection and training for all school personnel. Teacher survey reports released by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario speak clearly to this issue.

The change in student demographics, class size and structure, the rise in violent incidents in our classrooms, the growing demands for recording and reporting student progress, 24-7 access to teachers along with the unprecedented growth of corporate intrusion/interests are straining our teaching and learning environments across Canada.

Member organizations also said the number of episodes reported does not come close to the reality of violence teachers face regularly at school. This may be due to a stigma to reporting acts of violence in the classroom. The result is that teachers can be reluctant to report because they perceive it may reflect poorly on their worth as an educator. We need to continue advocating for resources and the support necessary so teachers can teach the way they want to teach to continue meeting the needs of their students and to reduce the day-to-day stress of the classroom.

CTF is justifiably concerned with Bill S-206, a private member’s bill which is currently at second reading in the Senate, effectively calling for the repeal of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada. If passed, this wrong-headed approach will impact students’ safety and the teacher’s ability to work directly with students. Section 43 is the only protection teachers have against prosecution when they are carrying out their duties in the complicated, unpredictable climate of today’s schools.

In April 2017, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette spoke to the CTF Board of Directors about Bill S-206, the bill she introduced in the Senate which has since been taken over by Senator Murray Sinclair. Board members took the opportunity to inform the Senator of the negative impact the repeal could have on the safety and security of all students and personnel in schools. CTF is fundamentally opposed to any form of corporal punishment but recognizes the need for physical contact with students and, at times, the need for physical restraint to ensure their safety and the safety of others. We believe and hope she heard our message. Senator Hervieux-Payette promised to reexamine the bill with the Justice department in order to address the concerns of teachers. 2018 has CTF continuing to closely monitor Bill S-206. Debate was adjourned on December 7, 2017.

Copyright in Schools is currently another focus of our advocacy work which will continue in 2018. The current legislation is viewed as an international example to model yet concerns by the publishing industry have once again brought it forward as an issue. As the federal government is currently reviewing the copyright legislation, content creators and the industry sector have been busy lobbying the federal government for changes. CTF as part of the Education coalition has been lobbying against the proposed changes but for maintaining the fair use/fair dealing provisions established by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2012. If creators succeed in a revised federal legislation in their favour, we can all expect to see increased copyright fees that will siphon education funds away from students and schools and into the pockets of publishers. This will seriously harm teachers’ ability to access and use resource materials in Canadian classrooms.

I invite all CTF Members organizations and Canadian teachers to pressure their federal representatives throughout the coming months to maintain the fair use/fair dealing provisions in our education system. It’s important to have our voices heard at every opportunity.

The power of close to a quarter of a million voices and the collective voice of our profession are what drive our advocacy efforts. You as teacher leaders are the drivers of CTF through your professional organization. Through this work, we can continue to strengthen our world class public education system.

As classroom teachers, we must tell the story of today’s Canadian classrooms in 2018. What are the realities we face and how does lack of support combined with inclusion and the creation of inclusive classrooms impact learning environments and Canadian students’ opportunities to learn? Teachers understand the essence of learning is founded in the relationships between teachers and students. Support for nurturing and developing these meaningful relationships and maintaining safe and healthy learning environments is the work ahead in 2018.

(H. Mark Ramsankar is the President of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation)

Canada @ 150 – Eight big ideas to strengthen public education

By Bernie Froese-Germain

The genesis of public education in Canada and the birth of the Canadian federation have some important commonalities. They are both approximately the same age – public education has its origins in the latter half of the 19th century. More importantly, they are both works in progress, continually evolving to meet new needs and demands, one supporting and strengthening the other.

On the role that public education plays in a democratic society, philosopher and essayist John Ralston Saul eloquently stated that:

Any weakening of universal public education can only be a weakening of the long-standing essential role universal public education plays in making us a civilized democracy.
www.publiceducationnetworksociety.com/the-charter.html

In a similar vein, American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey observed a century ago that:

It is no accident that all democracies have put a high estimate upon education; that schooling has been their first care and enduring charge. Only through education can equality of opportunity be anything more than a phrase. Accidental inequalities of birth, wealth, and learning are always tending to restrict the opportunities of some as compared with those of others. Only free and continued education can counteract those forces which are always at work to restore, in however changed a form, feudal oligarchy. Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Dewey

The historic milestone of Canada’s 150th anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect on the future of public education: what kind of public education system do we need to support the vision of an inclusive, equitable, sustainable, prosperous Canada?

No one could argue that public education doesn’t play a central role in creating our future society – unfortunately, the typical discourse around educational innovation and change too often equates with standardized, market-driven reforms which undermine equity. Teachers’ organizations attempt to provide an important counter-narrative to this flawed mindset.

So, with that in mind, here are some “big” ideas (in no particular order) to strengthen public education in Canada.

  1. Education for reconciliation – In the wake of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and its Calls to Action, CTF firmly believes education is vitally important to the healing and reconciliation process and is committed to working together with Indigenous organizations and our other educational partners toward this end.
  2. The teacher voice – Classroom teachers, the experts on teaching and learning, are best positioned to know what students require to be successful in the broadest sense of the term. As such, it is vitally important to involve and incorporate the teaching profession’s views on educational change. Indeed, Jelmer Evers and René Kneyber, editors of Flip the System: Changing Education From the Ground Up, published last year by Education International (EI), argue that teachers can and should take the lead on education reform. https://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20Magazine/Volume-96-2015-16/Number-1/Pages/Book-review.aspx
  3. Support for collaborative professionalism – The importance of fostering a system culture of collaborative professionalism to improve teaching and learning is one of the main recommendations of a recent study on the state of professional learning in Canada. According to Andy Hargreaves, “professional learning and development (PLD) is most effective when it takes place within a culture of collaborative professionalism where teachers work and plan together, take shared responsibility for all students’ learning in each other’s classes and schools, and undertake inquiry in teams to solve problems in their schools”.
    https://learningforward.org/who-we-are/announcements/press-releases/2016/12/05/findings-from-a-study-of-educators-professional-learning-in-canada-released-today
  4. Social and economic conditions matter – Socio-economic factors (such as child poverty and mental illness) can have an impact on student learning and educational outcomes. Improving the broader social and economic conditions of children and their families will ultimately benefit learning and the overall quality of public education.
  5. Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) – We need to deepen our awareness and understanding of global education reform and how these changes are impacting our schools and education systems. Features of GERM include school choice (charter schools, voucher programs, etc.), increased competition between schools, test-based accountability, and the narrowing of curriculum. To take one example, the growth of international benchmark testing such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) PISA is influencing educational policy and practice in ways that can be detrimental to the goals of public education.
  6. Achieving excellence through equity – The Alberta Teachers’ Association’s (ATA’s) blueprint for educational development in Alberta, A Great School for All (PDF – 1.3 MB), takes a systematic holistic approach to educational change with equity as its foundation. The blueprint contains 12 dimensions of change which “are interconnected and recognize that schools are complex living communities that exist within an ecology bounded by culture, community, socio-economic realities, political environments and global trends and pressures.”
  7. Increase support for diversity – Given the incredible diversity of classrooms and schools – and the richness and strength that lies therein – providing the necessary supports and services for students with special needs including students with mental health problems is absolutely critical.
  8. Stem the growing tide of privatization in/of public education – Over the past two years, CTF has been actively involved in the Global Response campaign, an international effort – coordinated by EI and endorsed at the EI World Congress in Ottawa in 2015 – opposed to the privatization and commercialization of public education. The campaign has two complementary pillars:
    • Advocate for governments to do what they’re supposed to do – act in the interest of the public good with adequate funding, resources and policy to ensure quality inclusive public education.
    • Endeavour to interrupt and stop “edu-businesses” such as Pearson and Bridge International Academies from profiting at the expense of access for all to free quality publicly funded public education.

    As part of the Global Response campaign, the recently launched We The Educators initiative, a series of animated short videos supported by a detailed literature review, is intended to catalyze new conversations about the relationship between educational technology and the privatization, standardization, datafication, and (de)personalization of education.

While not exhaustive by any means, this list does touch on some core issues for the teaching profession in its efforts to ensure the provision of quality public education for all – for the next 150 years and beyond.

*This article was first published in the June 2017 issue of PerspectivesCTF’s Web magazine.

Canadian Teachers’ Federation applauds repeal of anti-labour legislation

June 15, 2017

Ottawa – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is celebrating the adoption of Bill C-4, the legislation that repeals the previous Conservative government’s Bill C‑377 introduced in 2012 and Bill C‑525 adopted in 2014.

“We applaud the Liberal government for living up to its electoral promise by repealing these anti-labour and undemocratic laws,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “Teacher organizations were among the many labour groups targeted by Bill C-377 which had been pushed quickly through the House of Commons with little debate and no consultation with labour. These measures triggered the CTF “Hear my voice” advocacy campaign with the goal of strengthening the teacher voice in labour rights,” Smith adds.

The Federation also rallied to support the Canadian Labour Congress campaign and joined the chorus of opposition expressed by police associations, the federal privacy commissioner, the Canadian Bar Association and seven provinces who called C‑377 unconstitutional and argued it would cost millions for the federal government to enforce.

“This is wonderful news for democracy and human rights,” concludes Smith.

Founded in 1920, CTF is a national alliance of provincial and territorial Member organizations that represent over 232,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also an affiliate of the 32-million member Education International. @CanTeachersFed

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Media contact:

Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314

We The Educators — A new conversation about the future of public education

Education systems around the world are now witness to a variety of educational changes and improvements, numerous social and economic disruptions, and the onset of rapid technological advances that were unimaginable in the past. Within this tsunami of change, innovative teaching and learning practices that employ emerging technologies are sweeping into schools and classrooms with the broader goal of transforming student learning.

While technologies present education systems with both significant opportunities and challenges, some of the most profound developments are related to standardisation, personalisation, privatisation, and the datafication of learning.

To this end, Education International (EI), the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) identified a need to explore the interdisciplinary research underpinning technology-driven datafication and its effects on teaching and learning around the world.

We the Educators - Educational Technology and the Personalisation, Standardisation, Privatisation and Datafication of EducationThis literature review (PDF – 601 KB) attempts to provide a balanced view of the interdisciplinary concepts under investigation in order to inform an analysis of the converging fields of educational technology and datafication. It is part of a larger project, entitled “We the Educators” (www.wetheeducators.com), which brings the concepts explored in this research to life through video and animation in multiple languages.

It is hoped that this project will stimulate a rich public dialogue—and greater professional scrutiny—around the relationship between the datafication of education systems and the (de)personalization, privatization and standardization of student learning. We invite colleagues and advocates for quality public education worldwide to draw on this research and to use the videos to continue the conversations.

This project is the result of a global collaborative effort of many talented people including Graham Brown-Martin and teams from EI (Angelo Gavrielatos, Nikola Wachter and Mar Candela), the ATA (Dr Philip McRae, Dr Lindsay Yakimyshyn and Dr J-C Couture) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (Cassandra Hallett, Bernie Froese-Germain). The collective attention, analysis, support and imagination provided by all of these individuals has brought to life a project with the intention to inform and help to (re)shape the future of teaching and learning.

All of the partners in this project will continue to research and advocate for the conditions of professional practice required to create teaching and learning environments that advance the goal of strong publicly-funded public education systems: to educate all children and youth well.


Please follow, like and connect to these platforms and help us spread this conversation.

Website: https://wetheeducators.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeTheEducators
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeTheEducators
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/WeTheEducators/
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/WeTheEducators
YouTube: http://bit.ly/WTEyoutube

When crisis for many means opportunity for some: Private profit and the education of Syrian refugees

By Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary, Education International

The war in Syria has been on the front pages of newspapers for six years now. We have witnessed the plight of those who flee, the long winters in refugee camp tents. But little is said about the fate of refugee children when it comes to their education. Do they have schools to go to? Who teaches them?facebook_Arabic

A new study answers these questions. “Investing in the Crisis: Private Participation in the Education of Syrian Refugees”, conducted by Francine Menashy and Zeena Zakharia from the University of Massachusetts, examines the situation of 900,000 refugee Syrian children who are out of school in their host countries, with enrolment rates ranging from 70 percent in Jordan to 40 percent in Lebanon and 39 percent in Turkey.

Clearly, there is a deficit in access to education for refugee children – and private providers are actively engaging in that space. Naomi Klein, who coined the term ‘disaster capitalism’, outlined how the private sector is quick to respond whenever a crisis or natural disaster strikes. However, in the case of education in such emergencies, little has been known about the scope and aims of private engagement.

This report highlights a surge in private actor involvement in the Middle East since 2015, with 144 non-state actors currently engaged in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. This includes 46 businesses and 15 private foundations, the majority of which have their headquarters in the global north, and 61 percent of which do not have education as their primary mandate.

What other drivers apart from education pull private investment into the region?

In their study, Menashy and Zakharia explore the nature of private sector involvement in the education of Syrian refugees. The study raises questions about the profit motive driving these actors which may be at odds with what is best for refugee children, including their right to quality education. Furthermore, part of the new trend of ‘philanthrocapitalism’, which is increasingly influencing education policies and programmes, is the involvement of private companies in the education of Syrian refugees which may contribute to undermining democratic governance and accountability in education that was once inextricably linked to social dialogue and legislative processes.

While the intervention of private actors may be unavoidable in certain crisis contexts, the study unveils clear areas of concern. Private actors on the ground seem to be insufficiently coordinated, leading to imbalances and duplication of services – a situation which is worsened through inadequate communication between the private actors and the state.

The authors also highlight that private stakeholders often overemphasise the role and presence of technology in education. This emphasis on ICT is questionable given the scarcity of resources, with schools often lacking the most basic infrastructure and tools. Do children need tablets when they have no benches to sit on, no toilets to go to at school? In this regard, governments are well advised to seek and consider the expert voice of teachers and their unions – a vital part of a humanitarian response in education – to ensure that interventions are contextualised and appropriate for the reality in the classroom.

Lastly, the engagement of private actors in Syrian refugee education is translating into political influence, where numerous businesses are becoming key decision-makers in refugee education policymaking. This influence can and will promote an increase in the private provision of education and non-formal education environments. This is deeply problematic due to the overall lack of accountability in terms of educational quality and equity, as previous studies commissioned by Education International have shown.

This report lays bare the undeniable obligation of all governments to ensure that the rights of all children, including refugee children, are met. This includes the provision of free inclusive and equitable quality public education. Beyond this, governments are also required to regulate the involvement of private actors within clear legal frameworks addressing the commercialisation of education in fragile settings. We must challenge the exploitation of those in need. Seeking to profit from those in need cannot be labelled as anything but unethical.

OP-ED: We need to work together to improve our education system

nstu_colourDecember 7, 2016

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Nova Scotians for the outpouring of support teachers have received this past week. At rallies across the province, inside and outside of schools and on-line, the many kind and thoughtful words expressed have been heartening to the NSTU’s 9,300 public school members.

Monday was a difficult day for students and their families, and it was a sad day for teachers. All teachers are committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment, and the government’s decision to lock out students created an unnecessary burden for parents.

It was because of the thousands who spoke up for teachers, that government reversed course, and allowed students to go back to school.

Teachers want better learning conditions, safer schools and more time to spend helping students instead of doing paperwork. We also have a right to a fair collective bargaining process, something we have been denied by the current government.

It’s for these reasons that earlier this fall 96% of our members voted in support of job action, and it’s why we are currently working-to-rule.

It’s going to take everyone working together to make our education system the best it can be. It’s going to take a lot of change – big and small – to make Nova Scotia’s future strong. We want to talk. We want to listen. But if it takes working-to-rule to accomplish needed investments, we’ve demonstrated we are willing to take that step.

We also want the ability to negotiate for better classroom conditions at the bargaining table. Our children’s future is too important to be wagered on political commitments. Teachers want to see positive measures enshrined so they can’t be taken away with the strike of a pen from the government.

Right now our primary objective is to get back to the bargaining table in order to reach a new agreement that is fair to students, teachers and families. We have been frustrated by the government’s lack of willingness to bargain in good faith, as I’m sure you are frustrated by the lack of a resolution to this situation.

Ultimately, teachers are taking this stand for a better education system. Hopefully soon, the government will come to the table willing to negotiate and not dictate so an agreement can be reached.

Liette Doucet

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For more information, contact:

Angela Murray, PR coordinator, Nova Scotia Teachers Union
902- 479-4708, 902-497-0194 (cell)
amurray@nstu.ca @NSTeachersUnion

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PM and First Ministers urged to focus on child and youth mental health

In a December 1st letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation urged him and the Premiers to focus on child and youth mental health at their First Ministers’ Meeting on December 9, 2016, in Ottawa. Child and youth mental health has been identified as a top priority by Canadian teachers from across Canada.

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December 1, 2016

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

As you prepare for the upcoming First Ministers’ meeting and the rich dialogue at this important gathering, I am writing on behalf of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) to urge a focus on child and youth mental health. In 2014, CTF surveyed over 5000 Canadian teachers regarding their top priorities; 95% of respondents rated child and youth mental health as their top concern. This is a staggering, yet all too believable, response that should not be ignored.

When you meet the First Ministers, CTF asks you, on behalf of the 231,000 teachers we represent and the millions of students they teach, to provide for adequate mental health care for children and youth in a renewed Health Accord. At the present time, despite Canada’s relative international prosperity and progressive values, many Canadian communities lack adequate resources to provide the preventative and interceptive resources needed to support child and youth mental health and well-being. In isolated communities and for minority populations, the challenges are often further exacerbated by distance, linguistic barriers, and lack of understanding about culture or group.

CTF and its provincial and territorial Member organizations would welcome the opportunity to participate with governments at all levels in discussions about improvements to mental health services for children and youth. Children and youth in Canada have a right to health care and that must include readily accessible mental health care.

In 2012, in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, CTF explored the issue of mental health and well-being in schools through a pan-Canadian survey. Over 3,900 teachers responded to the survey including 2,324 elementary school teachers and 1,603 secondary school teachers. The purpose of the survey was to gain a better understanding of the classroom teacher perspective on issues related to student mental health and well-being in Canadian schools, including factors that act as potential barriers to the provision of mental health services for students in their schools (such as stigma for example).

Barriers identified in the 2012 CTF survey included the following:

  • 85% of teachers agreed that a lack of funding for school-based mental health services was a potential barrier, including 59% who “strongly” agreed;
  • 78% of teachers agreed that an insufficient number of community-based mental health professionals was a potential barrier, including 45% who “strongly” agreed;
  • Three quarters of teachers (75%) agreed that a lack of coordinated services between the school and community was a potential barrier, including 38% who “strongly” agreed;
  • Two thirds of teachers (67%) agreed that a lack of referral options in the community was a potential barrier, including 34% who “strongly” agreed.

One teacher respondent summed up the situation we know too well:

  • It is sad when you know there is a concern, or the student tells you there is a concern, you’ve followed the proper protocols, and for whatever reason (lack of services, family declines services for child, fear of stigma, etc.) the student does not get the help they need.

CTF and its 17 Member organizations in each province and territory would welcome opportunities for further dialogue and collaboration to help all Canadian children and youth lead healthy lives in order to achieve their full potential. We wish you a very successful First Ministers’ Meeting and sincerely hope that the mental health and well-being of Canadian children and youth will feature prominently in your deliberations and, ultimately, in a new Health Accord.

Yours sincerely,

Heather Smith
President, Canadian Teachers’ Federation

Cc Provincial and Territorial Premiers
CTF Board of Directors