It’s been a busy time of year–end of semester, now the holidays–and I haven’t written yet about the BC government’s recent announcement about cuts to ABE funding. In a nutshell: the BC government has announced it will be cutting base funding to post-secondary institutions in 2015, specifically the amount previously allotted to cover tuition for adult literacy/adult basic education/upgrading. PSIs have been instructed to make up the difference through any means necessary, including charging tuition for these programs up to $1600 per semester. That’s a jump from $0 to $1600! Historically, institutions have tried to make tuition low or free for these programs, because the students who access them are usually unable to afford it.
This announcement, made quietly in December, has sent post-secondary ABE programs reeling. No one expected this. It is a cut that will have seriously detrimental consequences on the most vulnerable of our students: low income learners, Aboriginal students, the geographically isolated, immigrants and refugees, and inner city residents. I have been in conversations with my local and provincial colleagues and we are all stunned. This may be unprofessional of me to admit, but I nearly broke down in tears when speaking about this with the head of our student association. I am very worried about our students and the future of these vital programs.
I’m supposed to be on holiday with my family right now, so I’ll leave it at this for the moment, but here is a blog with links about the situation. The timing of this announcement has made it hard to immediately rally all the troops (hmm…what a strange coincidence) but make no mistake, we will be at it in full force in January. More thoughts on this later, anyway.