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Ford government backtracks on mandatory e-learning courses

Last Updated Nov 21, 2019 at 3:23 pm EST

Ontario's minister of education Stephen Lecce speaks during a press conference to announce a tentative deal reached with CUPE in Toronto, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

The Ford government is cutting the number of online courses Ontario high school students will have to take from four to two.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says starting in September 2020, students will be required to take two online credit courses in order to graduate. Exemptions will be made for some students on an individual basis.

Back in March, the government said students would be required to take four e-learning courses starting in 2020-2021. Lecce said the decision to scale back to two was made after receiving feedback from students, teachers and families.

The four mandatory online courses, and government moves to increase average high school class sizes from 22 to 28, have been major sticking points in ongoing negotiations with teachers.

The government has also said it’s willing to drop the class size average from 28 to 25.

Lecce says the province is trying to demonstrate that it’s being reasonable.

“The Minister is doing his media relations nonsense again. This is not productive way forward,” said Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation president Harvey Bischof who announced a work-to-rule campaign for high school teachers starting next week.