new BC government makes ABE tuition free again

Fantastic news for ABE students in British Columbia! ABE will be tuition free again starting September 1st:

The new NDP government in B.C. is eliminating tuition fees on adult basic education or English language learning programs, reversing a 2015 decision by the B.C. Liberals, Premier John Horgan announced Tuesday.

Horgan said the announcement means the NDP has delivered on a promise made during the election campaign.

“We’ve seen literally thousands of people not participate or not move forward with English language learning and adult basic education as a result of the barriers that costs impose on people,” Horgan said at a media event.

“We wanted to get this out as quickly as possible so that the September school year can see an increase in enrolment.”

In 2015, institutions were allowed to set fees for adult basic education and English language learning programs up to $1,600 per semester per student — and enrolment dropped substantially, according to the NDP.

University of British Columbia professor of education Shauna Butterwick applauded the change in policy and believes it will improve access to education for prospective low-income students.

Some of those students did not graduate from high school; others may have been forced out of old industries by the changing economy, and some of them could be those who did graduate from high school over five years ago but have to retake courses as the curriculum changes.

“The vast majority of them continue to go onto other post-secondary education programs,” she told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

“It’s just helping students get to programs that are career-focused and can get them jobs with a living wage.”

(A note for those people who have been complaining about the potential cost to taxpayers: According to the numbers that colleges were given last year by Ministry officials, the implementation of tuition in 2015 cost the province twice as much to administer as the original tuition free model. This move will actually be saving the province money. Also, as Butterwick notes later in the linked article, people who get an education and go on to better paying jobs are less likely to need the social safety net and likely to contribute more in taxes. But the bottom line is…education is a RIGHT, not a privilege.)

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