Letter: Team up – don't compete – on international education

The Editor,

Re. "Travel, expenses necessary to build a ‘global network,’ says SD43 head" (The Tri-City News, Dec. 5).

I have some questions regarding the generation and use of public education ideas and dollars as referred to in The Tri-City News' article about international education in School District 43.

Is B.C.’s public education system meant to be a competitive business within its own provincial boundaries, pitting one school district against another?

Public dollars and ideas should be shared, especially within our province. When one district competes with others for international education clients, or for networking internationally to share educational developments, it sounds like we are striving to make a hierarchy of school districts where financial gains and educational advancements are totally unequal. Smaller districts with fewer marketing dollars and personnel, especially those in isolated areas, will fall behind larger, more powerful districts.

Why not make a transition to a fairer, more equitable system of international student recruitment? Instead of sending delegations from each district abroad, districts could work together, think together, plan together and send diverse delegations from varied districts internationally to tout our superb system of public education.

Travel dollars could then be more efficiently utilized by the system; instead of several delegations to a country by several districts, only one B.C. delegation would be necessary. This may even free up money to send delegations to other areas of the world not yet accessed by B.C. education representatives.

By making this a provincial program, the sharing of leading ideas and financial gains would better serve each and every student in our province. Isn’t that what the “public” in public education is meant for, that each and every child has equal access to the best education that we, the public, can provide?

I support the sharing of ideas, the forming of networks and the marketing of our excellent B.C. education system but I question competing with ourselves to the disadvantage of some of our needier districts.

Jennie Boulanger, Coquitlam

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