EAL class

The chamber has recommended that more skilled math teachers be hired in Island schools (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The P.E.I. business community raised alarms over the Island’s failing education system in a presentation to the legislature’s standing committee on education Tuesday.

It said the P.E.I. education system is failing students and the Island's economy.

"What we're seeing now is a very big problem for our province, and one that's not just a problem now but as we look forward is really a concerning issue for the future,” said Rory Francis, director within the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.

'There is absolutely no reason why P.E.I., given our small size, shouldn't have the best educational outcomes in the country' - Rory Francis, Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce

President of the group Quentin Bevan said by not properly preparing students for what the realities of the workforce “we feel we are seriously affecting their career opportunities and also the growth of our economy.”

Board of directors member Steve Loggie said according to the latest results of international student assessments P.E.I. students are a half a grade behind the average OECD student, one grade behind the average Canadian student.

The chamber says instead Islanders should have the best education system in Canada.

"There is absolutely no reason why P.E.I., given our small size, shouldn't have the best educational outcomes in the country," said Francis.

The chamber said educators have to stop what it called the "social promotion of students," passing children to the next grade, when they should be kept behind.

The chamber has recommended that more skilled math teachers be hired in Island schools.

It also recommended that a working group to engage communities, students, teachers and everyone else involved in the education system be established immediately.