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This article was published 14/3/2019 (223 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The move by the Pallister government to close down the Manitoba Curriculum Support Centre was criticized by the NDP on Wednesday.
The centre provides learning tools for educators free of charge, including games, posters and videos, and is slated to close this spring.
The decision was also frowned upon by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. The society was not informed or consulted about the decision, they said in a press release, calling it "an act of bad faith."
The centre is moving to an online model. The current model sees a low volume of approximately 14 teachers per day, whereas the online version will be easily accessible to teachers across Manitoba, a government spokeswoman said.
Services for students with visual impairments will still be accessible at 1181 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg, but the remainder of the materials will be distributed to educational partners — which may include libraries, school divisions, First Nations and post-secondary institutions.
The government will provide an online resource locator, the spokeswoman said, and educators will be able to reach out to the library that has the item they’re looking for to find out if it’s available.
Participating libraries may provide delivery services, she said.
The centre is set to close April 1.
It doesn’t make sense for the province to close it when they’ve just launched the K-12 review of the public education system, said Lonnie Patterson, who will be putting her name forward for NDP nomination in Brandon East for the next provincial election.
"You would think that resource and whether or not it needed changes or anything like that would have been part of that review," Patterson said. "Not just something that was closed, it seems to me, without consultation with teachers at all."
Patterson also said she was disappointed the government made the decision before the end of the current school year, and that it seems strange to take a resource away from teachers in April.
She was also concerned that the online model wouldn’t be helpful to people who live outside of urban areas with more limited internet access.
However, more and more people are getting better access all the time, Brandon East Progressive Conservative MLA Len Isleifson said.
"They are getting internet in different areas, there’s always talk about new towers going up," Isleifson said. "There are areas of Manitoba that don’t have access that we’re working on, but I still think it’s the right move."
The move is a step forward, he said, adding that it doesn’t take away from the program, but enhances it. It moves the centre into a day and age where accessibility is important.
"A lot more people are getting onto the internet nowadays, (and) this is going to provide that access to more people."
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