The BC Teachers' Federation is holding a rally this evening at the Vancouver Board of Education office to protest government underfunding and a proposal by the school district to shut down more adult education centres.
“Because of 15 years of BC Liberal cuts, Vancouver students are once again facing another round of devastating losses to adult education,” said BCTF President Glen Hansman. “With the election just over two weeks away, this is an opportunity for all Vancouver MLA candidates to speak up for adult education and ensure, no matter what party gets in, these vital programs are saved.”
Adult education in Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam, and elsewhere has been in crisis since the BC Liberals stripped funding for programs that gave adults a chance to upgrade their skills, learn English, or complete courses they needed for job training programs.
“By gutting adult education in Metro Vancouver, the BC Liberal government is removing economic opportunities from many low-income British Columbians, new immigrants, and Aboriginal members of our communities,” said Hansman. “The cuts have blocked pathways for students trying to further their education and get better jobs. Programs like care-aide courses are now out of reach for many if they can't take tuition-free Biology 12. Some IT courses are now unattainable because of tuition barriers to courses like Math 12. By scrapping tuition-free adult basic education, the Christy Clark government put important courses out of reach for many hard-working British Columbians who dream of lifting themselves out of poverty through upgrading their skills.”
The BCTF has been asking the government to reinstate adult basic education funding for two years, recently repeating the call in the 2016 submission to the Legislative Assembly's Select Standing Committee on Finance. That committee, made up of NDP and BC Liberal MLAs, recommended in November 2016 that the government “restore full and sustained funding to the Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.”
Hansman said, “Despite support from MLAs on both sides of the aisle, Christy Clark and her Minister of Finance chose to ignore the bipartisan recommendation to restore funding for adult basic education.”
The rally in support of adult education will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 24, 2017, on the south lawn of the Vancouver Board of Education office (West Broadway and Fir Street).