Education Minister Gordon Wyant says ministry officials are working with the Northern Lights School Division on developing a strategy for teacher shortages.

At the start of the year the School Division stated there was a need for approximately 14 educators for vacancies in La Ronge, Pinehouse Lake, La Loche, Stony Rapids and Sandy Bay.

Jason Young, Director of Education says recruiting has decreased the need from 14 teachers to nine. Wyant says he wants to move quickly on implementing a new strategy. “We want to make sure we get teachers in the classroom as quickly as possible. I’m not expecting a long convoluted strategy with respect to how we’re going to fill those vacancies,” Wyant said.

Wyant says he met last week with the Chair of the School Division about the situation. Wyant described as wanting to work diligently on recruiting new teachers.

NDP education critic Carla Beck says scrapping the Northern Teachers Education Program has certainly made recruiting and retaining northern teachers more difficult. “Hear from them why they’re having trouble. Is it housing? Is it recruitment? Is it problems with the school or conditions with the school? I think that’s the first piece,” explained beck.

Young says resumes are slowly coming in, but the situation is affecting staff morale.