Vancouver creates Adult Basic Education Day in support of British Columbia Federation of Students

by MrContentGenerator

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-27-54-amOn Monday the 12th of September Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson made a city statement creating Adult Basic Education Day. The move is a part of the Don’t Close the Doors Campaign of the British Columbia Federation of Students.

What is Adult Basic Education?

According to the BCFS Campaign website:

Adult Basic Education (ABE) has been tuition-free in BC since 2007. The provincial government announced a massive $15.9 million funding cut from Adult Basic Education programming in BC and removed the tuition-free ABE mandate. This short-sighted plan will hurt our economy and fuel inequality.”

ABE is high school courses that are taken by students at higher education schools. These courses have a high proportion of returning mature students, Aboriginal people, and single parents compared to other programs. These programs have been free in the past, including when the BC Liberals took off the fees that used to exist.

Many cities already want free Adult Basic Education

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Vancouver is not the first city to support the British Columbia Federation of Students in trying to make Adult Basic Education free again. According to the Don’t Close the Doors website, the following cities have already declared their support:

  • Courtenay
  • Cumberland
  • Parksville
  • Port Alberni
  • Duncan
  • Burnaby
  • Victoria
  • New Westminster

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In wanting free Adult Basic Education, the BCFS is also supported by several groups such as Unifor the Union and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Tuition undermines education

The Don’t Close the Doors Campaign is fighting for free education for students who had it only a few years ago. It shouldn’t be understated that this makes the BCFS Campaign the most pointed push against government under funding of colleges in British Columbia. However, since the Campaign is limited to only high school level courses it doesn’t fight for lower tuition for all students. If students want to eliminate tuition fees, bigger, wider, more inclusive campaigns are going to be needed.

[Note: the BCFS was contacted for comment on this story but did not respond.]
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