Adult basic education numbers expected to rebound with free tuition

Adult basic education enrolment is set to rebound with high school upgrading and English language classes now being offered tuition free again as of Sept. 1.

It's been almost three years and the College of New Caledonia is set for a renewed surge of interest since the new provincial government announced that the fees would be eliminated.

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"We're thrilled to be able to offer adult basic education and English language learning programs tuition-free," said Jay Notay, executive vice president academic, applied research and students.

Notay says that about three quarters of CNC students go on to further their education after completing the courses and CNC is ready to support their continued learning.

"The more educated you are, the more opportunities you have," said George Davison, president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C.

"These entry level programs offer a start and students can then go anywhere."

In 2014, the B.C. Liberals cut $6.9 million from adult basic education programming at post-secondary institutions in B.C. and removed the tuition fee-free mandate.

A further $9 million was cut from the adult basic education programming in the K-12 system.

Since being tuition free, adult students will no longer have to pay $1,600 per semester. The provincial government's initial estimate to go tuition free will cost approximately $7 million per year.

Davison says the socio-economic impact is significant in offering doors to educational growth and retraining and job opportunities are being opened so anyone can pursue post-secondary education.

Approximately 60 per cent of employers in B.C. require some kind of post-secondary training.

"'This is such great news for students who are wanting to get in the door," Davison says. "I congratulate the government. We now have to get the word out to colleges and universities in the province and see what they have to offer."

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