Education is a privilege that should never be taken for granted. As the Conference Board of Canada puts it: “Education is typically seen as the most powerful route to improving private and public prosperity and well-being” (2014). It is the gateway to many possibilities in life. The province of British Columbia (BC) understands the importance of education and the opportunities that knowledge and skills provide for its youth.
BC education ranks first among all other Canadian provinces and third overall internationally, only behind Japan and Finland. Credit must be given to the education system and teachers. One of the core values of BC education is student-centered learning. That means providing students with a range of learning options that meet the needs of students. Some students learn best when they hear someone explain the material; some students learn best when the material is explained using visual aids; and some students learn best when they physically work out a problem on their own. Traditional ways of learning mainly involved teacher-centered methods that neither interested students nor developed critical thinking. Current methods focus on engaging students in their own learning and developing skills that will allow students to succeed throughout their life.
Another core value of BC education is lifelong learning. Alberta Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” The world is constantly changing; knowledge and information continually grows. BC teachers are also learners; they are often trained as a group on professional development days and are also encouraged to regularly expand their knowledge on their subject of expertise. Lifelong learning is a skill that students need in order to find success in their future career endeavours.
Over 130,000 international students study in British Columbia every year in public and private educational institutions (gov.bc.ca, 2015). This accounts for more nearly one-third of the international students across Canada. Not only are students going to BC to study, but BC education is also exported out to the world in the form of BC Offshore Schools (BCOS). There are currently 44 BC certified offshore schools in eight different countries and over 13,500 students attending the schools.
BC Education has good reputation around the world and the number of students choosing it increases every year. Even so, the BC Ministry of Education continues to look for ways to improve the education system and make positive changes that impact students in BC and around the world.