government’s decision to cancel funding for adults working to upgrade their
education is ill-conceived policy on both the social and economic fronts, BCTF
President Jim Iker said.
“By putting up financial barriers to
adults seeking to upgrade their skills, the BC Liberal government is making it
much more difficult for hard-working people to further their education, gain
valuable experience, and eventually secure well-paying jobs. Doing away with
tuition-free high school courses for adult learners will force many out of the
programs and potentially lead to the cancellation of academic courses and,
ultimately, job losses.
“Those impacted most by these cuts to
adult basic education will likely be people in BC’s immigrant and Aboriginal
communities. Cutting funding to adults striving to improve their education
makes no sense from an economic or a social policy perspective. It’s just one
more sign the BC Liberal government is determined to continue its record of
underfunding BC’s education system.”
The Ministry of Education announced last
week that the cuts to adult basic education for those who already have their
Dogwood diploma would take effect on May 1, 2015—effectively closing down the
end of a school year. BC teachers who
work in adult education have already been called into emergency staff meetings
where district staff are unable to articulate what programs, courses, or jobs
will be lost.
Iker provided several
examples of ways these cuts will negatively impact current and future learners:
- There are many British Columbians who graduated from high school
with bare passes in English 12, Communications 12, or Math
courses. They need the opportunity to upgrade those marks to be eligible for
many different post-secondary programs.
- Some BC high school graduates didn’t take the courses that are
pre-requisites for occupational programs. For example, Biology 12 is now a pre-requisite for Care
Aide training. In addition, post-secondary institutions require that it be
taken in the last five years. So, once again, lack of funding for these courses
creates a barrier for the working poor or those returning to the
- At the Invergarry Adult Education Centre in Surrey alone these
cuts will impact hundreds of students who have their high school diploma.
Approximately 300 people will face new financial barriers because of this
“The uncertainty this policy announcement has
created for adult students and educators midway through a school year is
completely unacceptable,” said Iker. “The government needs to step back,
reverse this flawed decision and fund adult basic education properly in BC. Our
province should be prioritizing programs like these that train adults looking
to find well-paying jobs that can support their families.”
Last week the president of Vancouver’s
adult educator union, a component of VESTA and the BCTF, articulated his
concerns in a media release that can be read at http://vesta.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/12-05-news-release.jpg.