B.C. Education Minister Shirley Bond has cancelled the controversial Grade 12 graduation portfolio program thatwas to have been a graduation requirement beginning next year.

The portfolio is a binder or audio-visual presentation that B.C. high school students have been working on for two years in preparation for graduation in June 2007.

The program was designed to showcase students' efforts in arts, sports, employment skills and health—to help them get jobs and enter post-secondary education.

But Bond told CBC Radio that parents, teachers and students have been complaining about the time it takes to put the portfolio together.

She said she wants to review the program, and that it won't be a requirement while the program is being studied.

"I don't want next year to find that there are a significant number of really capable students for a number of reasons who are not graduating because of the portfolio requirement. So that's why it will be optional in the coming academic year.

"And then I want some time to be able to ask the question which I think is important, 'Is the format appropriate? Are schools ready for this?'"

Bond said students who have completed their portfolios already can still get marks for their efforts.

Mother 'gobsmacked' by cancellation

The cancellation has frustrated some parents who say their teens have already been working hard on their portfolios.

"I'm just gobsmacked," said Heather Matheson, whose daughter is enteringGrade 12 and has been working on her portfolio for two years.

"I find it absolutely outrageous that after the governmentdecides that this is an important part of their curriculum and the kids are actually marked on it onthe report card that they just pulled the plug."

Matheson says her daughter finished her portfolio early, and put a lot of work into it, noting there was even a teacher designated to help her out.