Additional school hours on Sask. agenda

Schools in Saskatchewan are about to undergo major changes. The provincial government has introduced a mandated minimum of 950 instructional hours each year.
Students could soon be spending more time in the classroom. CBC

It may be great news for parents, but students in Saskatchewan probably won't be too happy to be spending more time in school.

The provincial government is giving school divisions until May 1 to introduce a minimum of 950 instructional hours each year, which could mean up to 40 more classroom hours.

Russ Marchuk, minister of education, was asked what research there is to suggest that will improve students' success.

"There's no research to prove that it doesn't help either," Marchuk said. "So in terms of common sense, if you have the best teacher in front of you teaching the best student in front of you with the best possible program, to me it's common sense."

Marchuk said some schools will only need to extend the school day by 10 or 15 minutes.

Ray Morrison, the chair of the Saskatoon public school board, said schools in Saskatchewan are about to undergo major changes.

"Right now we have our administrative team looking at a variety of things," Morrison said. "We've known that the ministry (of education) has been contemplating these changes for probably about a year now."

Morrison said adding more instructional hours will bring Saskatchewan schools more in line with other provinces. He said school divisions in the province will likely find different solutions.

"I'm not sure that what we do in Saskatoon Public (School Division) necessarily relates to what some of my counterparts might want to do in northern Saskatchewan," Morrison said. "They have significant busing and transportation issues."

The Saskatoon Public School Division is considering several options - including longer school days - but parents and teachers will be consulted before any decisions are finalized.

Morning Edition host Sheila Coles spoke with Morrison about it this morning.

(Audio clip may might not play on mobile devices.)