VANCOUVER, Dec. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Students are angered and surprised to learn that the BC government will be implementing tuition fees for adult basic education (ABE) programs across the province. The move comes after tuition fees for ABE were eliminated by the BC Liberals in 2007.
"Today's announcement is a total reversal of the government's position on tuition fees that literally no one wants," said Zach Crispin, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-BC. "This is a clear message to students that the government's 2 percent cap on tuition fee increases is meaningless."
The application of fees to ABE comes as part of the government's response to a year-long campaign from students, community members and faculty over the de-funding of English as a Second Language programs. The cost of maintaining the tuition-fee status of ESL programs is estimated at less than $20 million across the entire province.
"BC has a budget surplus in excess of $400 million, there is simply no justification for cutting funding to basic education and asking students and families to pay more," said Crispin.
The 2007 decision to eliminate tuition fees for ABE was an outcome of the BC government's Campus 2020 Report, and followed months of research and consultation. The Report determined that the provision of cost-free upgrading programs is key to providing a strong economic future for British Columbia, and greater access to the labour market for a diversity of citizens.
"In 2007 this same government concluded that all citizens should have access to tuition fee-free basic education," added Crispin. "Today, that decision was reversed, without warning, consultation, justification or reason."
The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of post-secondary students from 15 universities and colleges in every region in BC. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - British Columbia
For further information: Zachary Crispin, Chairperson, 604.733.1880; Jenelle Davies, spokesperson, 604.341.6850