BC Students Converge on Legislature to Demand Action on Adult Basic Education Tuition Fees
Members of the Canadian Federation of Student meet with 61 MLAs
VICTORIA, April 23 – Students from across BC are meeting with 61 Members of the Legislative Assembly on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the economic and social benefits of eliminating adult basic education fees, a policy change that would help 30,000 students in BC. Students are demanding a fully-funded elimination of all ABE fees, presently as much as $500 per high-school level course, to begin in fall 2007.
“When ABE was free, I was able to take the courses I needed to upgrade and continue on to university level courses,” said Dustin Grof, a former ABE student now studying business at Selkirk College. “The case is clear that the BC Government should immediately eliminate tuition fees for adult basic education.” In Budget 2007, the BC government reported that 1 million British Columbians (36% of adults) are “illiterate”. The BC government collects $4 million dollars in ABE tuition fee revenue, which is only 0.2% of the average annual surplus over the past five years. Despite the fact that 50% of ABE students work full-time, three-quarters of them live below the poverty line according to the BC government’s 2005 ABE Survey.
“Students face significant financial hardship as a result of tuition fees being charged for adult basic education courses,” said Shamus Reid, spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. “Eliminating ABE fees and fully funding programs at all BC colleges would address the most significant barrier for British Columbians seeking to upgrade their education to participate in BC’s economy.”
Accessible adult basic education would have a positive impact on a number of priority areas for the BC government, including post-secondary participation rates for Aboriginal students, increasing skills training, and reducing adult illiteracy.
For further information: please contact: Shamus Reid, cell: (778) 322-2708; Summer McFadyen, cell: (604) 728-7744