Early technology learning essential

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Nova Scotians can think of the just-released report Building Our New Economy as a giant blueprint, given the many elements addressed and call for changes in so many areas. Among it, something that stands out is the need to boost technology-based industries.

That means our public school system has a challenge to meet that – as expected – comes with a cost.

The report, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians, was delivered by commission chairman Ray Ivany and his panel. The many recommendations included the need to invest more in research and development.

Doing that, of course, depends on an educated workforce. In turn, an educated workforce requires the right educational tools beginning at an early age.

The province’s school system is aware of that, but at the same time realizes the challenge, given the cash-strapped climate facing education – like all departments.

At a meeting Wednesday night of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board the cost of increasing technology-based learning was addressed.

Scott Milner, director of education services, said the three-year program under consideration would cost an additional $2.2 million in the 2014 budget and another $2.1 million in each of the following years. It involves hiring people with the technological expertise and, of course, the necessary equipment.

Despite the need in this province to limit costs, clearly this area of education is not one where scrimping is wise, not if we want young people to go on to studies in fields of technology demanded by modern industry.

Many Nova Scotians in recent years have described watching their children head west for better money or because of a lack of work in their field. Consider the potential difference if we provide education that embraces emerging technology. For every young person with an entrepreneurial spirit who sets up shop in this province, it means creating another handful of new jobs. That’s part of the approach and attitude we need.

Organizations: Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Nova Scotians, Chignecto

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