Sadly the Manitoba Curriculum Resource Centre closed yesterday on April 1. No it was not an April Fool's joke. It is now closed permanently. I have had may teachers speak or write to me about this closure which they feel will negatively impact access to materials which they can use in their classrooms. I raised these concerns in Question Period earlier today. The following is from Hansard.
Curriculum Support Centre - Elimination of Library Services
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the Manitoba curriculum support centre has been an incredible resource. For example, one teacher librarian who serves three small schools accessed its resources several times a month every month all school year for more than 35 years.
The curriculum support centre is absolutely essential for teachers and students, particularly for smaller schools who have limited budgets and limited alternative resources. The Internet can complement but not replace it.
Why has the Pallister government gone chop, chop, chop and eliminated the curriculum resource centre?
Hon. Kelvin Goertzen (Minister of Education and Training): Madam Speaker, the member opposite is wrong, wrong, wrong when it comes to the resources; those resources continue to be available online. There are more than 2,000 audiobooks and books that are available online. There's many other resources. Not another province in Canada, Madam Speaker, that had this particular kind of facility, yet those provinces got better results on literacy and other parts of the curriculum, Madam Speaker. Other provinces have modernized this. I'm sure that teachers across their provinces were about to get resources. Every other province has been able to do it and get better results. This member is advocating for something no other province does and wants us to continue to get poor results.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Sadly, the CRC had so many resources which can never be accessed online. The minister is misguided.
Mr Goertzen is not correct that access to the internet can easily replace the Curriculum Support Centre. As one teacher-librarian wrote - "the CSC [Curriculum Support Centre] provided many other types of resources that cannot be accessed online. Many of the DVD resources are copyrighted and are not streamed. There are many hands-on kits including magnet kits, sound kits, hand-on kits for light, and many other science topics." And the passion with which teachers I have spoken to support the Curriculum Support Centre suggest to me that it was a uniquely important centre and resource for Manitoba students and that it should not have been closed. As one person put it "The closure of the CRC is a devastating loss for the students and the educators of Manitoba."