VCC Faculty and students launch ESL Matters campaign

Class & job cuts imminent at Vancouver Community College; campaign urges Minister Virk to restore ESL funding immediately

VANCOUVER, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Faculty and students from Vancouver Community College today launched the ESL Matters campaign, urging Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk to restore full funding to English as a Second Language (ESL) training at VCC.

"Cutting ESL training just doesn't make sense," said Karen Shortt, President of the Vancouver Community College Faculty Association. "We have students waitlisted for our ESL classes, which are already at capacity. ESL training is critical to BC's economy, and is a major component of the BC Jobs Plan. Will Premier Clark and Minister Virk stand up for these skilled immigrants?"

The Ministry of Advanced Education recently announced a major reduction in ESL training funds for VCC, which will cause significant reductions in faculty, and will leave students with greatly reduced classes from April onward.

"ESL training provides students with the skills they need to be successful in BC's workforce," explained Harpal Malhi, Chairperson of the Students' Union of Vancouver Community College. "We're asking Minister Virk to invest provincial funding into this vital program. Our students want to develop their ESL skills and contribute to their communities, and BC's economy."

The ESL Matters campaign kicked off with a rally at VCC's Broadway campus, where students and faculty expressed their support for ESL training. The campaign's social media platform also kicked off today, with Twitter and Facebook feeds connecting to the ESLmatters.ca website.

SOURCE Vancouver Community College Faculty Association

For further information: Karen Shortt, President, VCCFA, 604.992.1464, kshortt@vccfa.ca; Nimmi Takkar, Executive Director, Students' Union of VCC, 778.846.5424, executivedirector@suvcc.ca