Cuts at Vancouver Community College will close the doors to thousands
Increases, not cuts, needed to reduce provincial labour shortages
Proposed cuts to programs have surprised and shocked faculty and students at Vancouver Community College (VCC).
The cuts would eliminate 7% of VCC faculty and cut classes for more than 1,000 students each year.
"The Board's plan will carve out experienced faculty, instructors who deliver important programs that this community needs. Two-thirds of the cuts will be in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. But they are also eliminating positions in the Developmental Disability Program, the Employment Opportunity for Women Program as well as Counseling and the program for the Visually Impaired," said Frank Cosco President of the VCC Faculty Association (VCCFA) .
"One of the keys to BC's future is its diversity," said Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour, "and this Board is about to approve a plan that says two-thirds of the program cuts are going to be in ESL. That's just plain wrong. We need to be doing more to help new Canadians integrate successfully, but these cuts completely undermine those efforts," Sinclair added.
"Students like me will be directly affected," said Jimin Qi, college-prep ESL student.
"I was trained as a doctor in China and have enrolled in VCC's ESL programs to improve my language skills and eventually qualify to practice medicine in BC. These cuts would make that upgrading almost impossible for any students who want to take similar upgrades. It makes no sense to me that the BC government or this Board would allow this to happen when they both know there is an urgent need to find more health care professionals," Qi noted.
The VCCFA will be making a presentation at the Board meeting later tonight. The association will urge the Board to re-consider the planned cuts and wants to see amendments that would allow students like Jimin and others to continue their post-secondary education at VCC.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.