Saskatoon student walkout and protest to call on Sask. Party to invest in education

Students in Saskatoon are planning a walkout and protest to call on the province to invest in education. Global News/ Gates Guarin

Students in Saskatoon are planning a walkout and protest Tuesday afternoon to call on the provincial government to invest in long-term funding for education.

The walkout is organized by several student council presidents from both Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, with the walkout running from 12:15 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. and a protest outside Sask. Party MLA Don Morgan’s office beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The organizing committee behind the walkout said that students have felt the effects of underfunding and overcrowding in schools and feel like they have been silenced and overlooked by the government.

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STF calls province’s education budget announcement ‘latest unprecedented stunt’

“With our learning being disrupted and extra-curricular activities being cancelled, we don’t feel like we are getting the services and experiences that are expected of the school system,” Kunj Patel, one of the walkout organizers, said.

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“We also want to see our teachers, who often go beyond the requirements of their jobs for us, receive the support they need from the province concerning classroom complexity and size.”

This movement has been picking up steam on Instagram, with several schools jumping on board to make their voices heard.

“As students, we hope that this protest highlights the concerns of students in Saskatoon and shows the public and government that students are not a passive presence in the discourse surrounding their education,” said organizer Abbie Shynkaruk.

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Saskatchewan students, parents express their frustration with STF sanctions

The committee said that it doesn’t take missing class lightly but that the impact of this walkout and protest will outweigh the missed time.

Saskatchewan teachers are currently taking part in the longest job action by educators in the province’s history in an attempt to put the issues of class size and complexity on the bargaining table. Teachers have cut extracurriculars around the province, removed noon-hour supervisions and participated in one-day strikes on rotation in an attempt to sway the government.

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The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation’s (STF) most recent move has been to call on the government to agree to binding arbitration. The move would bring a neutral third party to the bargaining table who would provide recommendations to the province and the union.

The government’s bargaining committee has refused binding arbitration and remains adamant that addressing the issues of classroom size and complexity should remain with local school boards.

— with files from Brooke Kruger

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