The government is eliminating about 60 teaching jobs across the province, but they will all be through retirements, says Education Minister Alan McIsaac.
McIsaac said the government expects to cut about 120 positions over three years in the education system, including the education department and the school boards when they amalgamate.
"Teachers only through attrition," he said.
Opposition Leader Olive Crane raised the issue during Thursday's question period when she asked Premier Robert Ghiz why the government was firing 120 teachers.
"How is firing 120 teachers going to help the education system," she said.
Ghiz responded by saying there would only be the 60 teaching positions eliminated through attrition and that Crane should get her facts straight before she rises in the house.
Crane later asked Ghiz if he was going to meet with graduating UPEI education students to tell them he was firing 120 teachers and there wouldn't be work for teachers in P.E.I.
"You want them to leave the province," she said.
Ghiz responded by saying he wanted to make the cuts clear to Crane.
"She can accuse me of being a liar or whatever she wants to do, but look at me and listen, 60 teachers are gonna be eliminated over the next three years, OK," he said.
He went on to say the ratio of students to teachers will stay the same.
"I wish the leader of the opposition would pay attention to what the answers are in the house, otherwise why is she even asking questions," he said.
"She can accuse me of being a liar or whatever she wants to do, but look at me and listen, 60 teachers are gonna be eliminated over the next three years, OK," Premier Robert Ghiz
In an interview after question period, McIsaac said no teachers will lose their jobs because of the changes.
"Definitely not," he said.
The decisions about cuts won't be final until the budget comes down, McIsaac said so he hadn't met with the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation yet to discuss the changes.
McIsaac said he did plan to meet with them Friday afternoon so the federation would have a chance to talk about the changes before the budget.
"They definitely will," he said.
The province has seen enrollments go down and the government has committed to maintaining student-teacher ratios so there is room to reduce the number of teachers, McIsaac said.
"The biggest thing is we want the best education for our children."
Crane said she thinks the government shouldn't reduce the number of teachers in P.E.I. despite the lower enrollment numbers because students have shown poor academic results.
"For me, right now the outcomes are what parents are interested in and while our kids continue to fail because of the education program this government is running we need the support and absolutely we need the educators," she said.