Ontario students could spend part of their summer break taking math-focused refresher courses, as the Progressive Conservative government looks to improve provincial math scores over the next four years.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will continue to fund the Summer Learning Program – a $6.6 million three-week math program for students from kindergarten to Grade 5 to help “minimize summer learning loss.”

“It’s a program that has worked, it worked last year,” Lecce told reporters as he made the announcement at St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School in Richmond Hill on Tuesday.

Lecce says these would be “in-person” programs run by the school boards.

“This investment provides our young people with access to the skills they need to enter the workforce with confidence and further underscores our government’s focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in the classroom,” Lecce said in a statement.

The government is also creating a “Math at Home” virtual summer refresher course designed to help parents prepare their children for the upcoming school year.

Lecce says the programs are part of the PC’s $200 million four-year math strategy aimed at reversing a decline in elementary-age EQAO mathematics test scores.

The revamp – which begins with a $55 million investment in the first year – includes a revised math curriculum for all grades that the government says would focus on “fundamentals” instead of discovery math.

As part of the changes, new teachers would also be required to pass a math content knowledge test in order to receive their teaching licence, beginning in the spring of 2020.