By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Several new teachers hired in the Robson Valley and North Thompson regions received a provincial incentive aimed at bolstering the recruitment and retention of teachers in rural and northern communities.

School District 57 Director of Human Resources Andrea Born confirmed the district hired a teacher in the Robson Valley under the incentive. The amount of the incentive could not be disclosed due to privacy concerns, but the program offers incentives ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.

The Province said two teachers were hired under the incentive in School District 73 Kamloops-Thompson (which includes Blue River) and School District 57 confirms one was hired in the Robson Valley.

50 teachers throughout the province were hired under the incentive program, which was launched in spring 2023 through a partnership with the Province, the BC Public School Employers’ Association, and the northern chapter of the British Columbia School Superintendents Association. The program provided $400,000 to address the immediate need for educators in the north.

Of the 50 teachers hired, 41 are located in the north, seven are on Vancouver Island, and two are in the Thompson-Okanagan region.

Minister of Education and Childcare, Selina Robinson said recruiting and retaining teachers is a crucial piece of the province’s Stronger BC: Future Ready Action Plan — a cross government plan aimed at recruiting skilled
workers to B.C.

“These incentives are one of the ways our government is supporting communities to attract more teachers and contribute to B.C.’s growing economy,” Robinson said.

Due to the success of this incentive program, the Province has committed to providing another $1.5 million to rural and remote school districts over the next three years.

Other provincial strategies to boost school district recruitment of certified teachers include the addition of 75 new spaces in teacher education programs in B.C. over the past three years, reduced processing times for teacher certification applications, and changed certification standards to allow more internationally trained teachers to work in B.C. classrooms.

The Ministry also provides $5,000 scholarships to 20 high school students each year who have demonstrated a commitment and proficiency for a future career in K-12 education.