October 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Education Ministry creates task force to help keep B.C. classrooms fully staffed

Sebastien Gagnon-Dorval / Global News

A new task force is looking at how to keep the province’s classrooms fully staffed following a Supreme Court ruling that brings class sizes back to 2002 levels.

“This is a good problem to be having – we are trying to add new classroom resources in every corner of the province,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming.

READ MORE: The B.C. Teachers Union is concerned the teacher shortage is affecting special needs students

He said while some districts say they’ve had a smooth start to the school year, others struggle to have specialty teachers and enough on-call teachers available.

“Some of these problems are persistent and some have been really stretched by what has been the largest hiring of new teachers in generations.”

WATCH: School year begins with teacher vacancies

He said the panel of experts is looking at immediate and long-term solutions.

READ MORE: Class Sizes: how B.C. classrooms stack up with others in Canada

“We’re looking at immediate things we can do to fill in some of the substitute teacher gaps, for example, in different districts, but also to have a longer-term strategy on training more teachers.”

He said the task force will deal with pressing issues as they come up, but will have a list of final recommendations by the end of the year.

Fleming said the province is hiring 3,500 new positions for this school year.

– With files from Emily Lazatin

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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