Thursday November 27, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Government expands focus for education

Efficiency initiative announced
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The Government of Saskatchewan says it is committed to a quality education system. In order to ensure the future sustainability of education programming, school divisions are being asked to look for savings through efficiencies that do not affect front-line services.

The Ministry of Education and its education partners are undertaking an efficiency initiative to better align resources to support teachers and students in the classroom. To this end, the ministry is conducting a third-party review to help understand where efficiencies can be realized, as well as how school divisions can achieve increased efficiencies in their operations.

“Improving student outcomes is the focus of the education system and we need to take a critical look at existing expenditures and determine whether they ultimately benefit students in Saskatchewan,” Education Minister Donna Harpauer says.

“We need to ensure we have the proper supports in place in order for students to achieve.”

The Ministry of Education has approached the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA), Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials (SASBO) and the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) to participate in the work to select an external resource to conduct the efficiency review. The consultant is expected to be in place by July, with work on the review slated to begin in September. The final report will be submitted to the ministry by February 2013.

“There is some very positive work already being done by school divisions to find efficiencies, so we will take advantage of these approaches and look for ways to expand them,” Harpauer adds.

“School divisions are doing similar types of administrative functions in some cases, such as payroll and purchasing. These are some of the areas where we can focus our attention as part of the efficiency initiative.”

The Ministry of Education will work with its sector partners to determine the efficiency targets, which will be reinvested in the education system. Besides increased student achievement, the ministry’s efficiency initiative is also intended to improve accountability and governance in the Saskatchewan education system.

Similar to the efforts that have taken place in the Ministry of Health, the Lean initiative is one of many tools that the education sector can use when increasing efficiency. Lean is a client-focused approach to evaluating service delivery in a workplace to improve processes and procedures.


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