A group of students, faculty, administrators, and school trustees joined forces in Victoria on Monday May 4 to hear a debate in the Legislature over the government’s handling of Adult Basic Education policy and funding choices. The group was at the Legislature to hear government and Opposition MLAs debate a motion calling for greater support for ABE students and programs.
“The Opposition MLAs made a forceful argument for improvements in the funding of ABE and a return to the tuition-free status that was government policy prior to their announced changes,” said Cindy Oliver, FPSE’s President. “As Rob Fleming noted in his comments during the debate, the provincial government had the funding capacity to give high income earners a tax break worth over $230 million, but couldn’t find the $10 million needed to keep ABE programs tuition-free,” said Oliver.
The group also included former Vancouver School Board Trustee Patti Bacchus who had joined the delegation as part of a broad-based effort that included community allies who share FPSE’s concern that the cuts to ABE programs and the elimination of tuition-free status will create enormous hardship for students. “When we meet with representatives from the provincial government, whether it’s Deputy Ministers, MLAs or Cabinet Ministers, we are constantly making the case that if they are serious about their so called Jobs Plan, they have to open the doors wider for students to access the programs they need,” Oliver stressed. “The February budget didn’t include the funding needed and the debate in the Legislature only confirms that this government doesn’t have a coherent plan for post-secondary education either,” Oliver concluded.
Find a full transcript of the debate on the motion to restore ABE funding here.
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 19 public and 5 private sector institutions.