Education Minister Rob Fleming, Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark and Premier John Horgan at Camosun College on Tuesday with students who’ve benefited from English language learning in B.C. Travis Paterson/News Staff

NDP eliminate tuition for adult education, will end interest on student loans

Government says this will open door for tens of thousands of people to upgrade their skills and save money.

B.C. Premier John Horgan made one of his first major announcements from Saanich’s Camosun College on Tuesday, stating his government will eliminate tuition fees on adult basic education and English language learning programs.

The announcement reverses action taken by the B.C. Liberals in 2015, which allowed education institutions to charge up to $1,600 per semester for full-time studies for adult learners. In turn, enrolment dropped by almost 35 per cent between the 2013-14 and 2016-17 school years.

Adult students who’ve prepaid for basic education and English language courses for September will be refunded, Horgan said.

“New Canadians who want a head start improving their language skills, students getting ready for university, adult learners going back to school to upgrade their skills to improve their opportunities or just getting a high school diploma, adult basic education should be free for everyone, it should be a right,” Horgan said.

The cost to make basic education free again will be included in September’s budget.

The premier also confirmed NDP’s plan to end interest on student loans in B.C.

“We’re actually going to reduce the [interest on] borrowing for student loans to zero, interest free, as well as a completion grant for those who have finished their education,” said Horgan.

The grant will create an incentive to those who’ve built up a large student debt during studies, to knock off as much as $1,000 from their balance when they finish, he added.

Both announcements are welcome news for the B.C. Federation of Students which has been pressing years for these changes.

“Adults who want to go back to [high school] shouldn’t be charged for that,” said Simka Marshall, chairperson for the B.C. Federation of Students. “This is something we’ve been campaigning for, we’ve had 23 municipalities endorse our campaign calling for free adult education so this is a really welcome change.”

RELATED: University students fed up with rising tuition costs

“Our province can’t afford to lose students who are keen to learn or advance their skills training in the post-secondary sector because of financial barriers,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. “I’m proud we’re taking this action to expand opportunities for ABE and ELL students to thrive in the workforce and achieve academic success.”

Horgan also spoke to softwood lumber deal with the U.S. and to Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver’s disapproval of Horgan’s upcoming golf tournament in Victoria that costs $500 per entry.

“I have spoken to [Weaver about it],” Horgan said. “It’s not a closed event, and anyway the cost largely goes to paying the green fees. [Fleming] and I have hosted this for a decade, it’s not secret, it’s not cash-for-access, anyone can join.”


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Semiahmoo wins Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic for second straight year

Totems’ senior boys battle back to top Tamanawis in tourney final at Enver Creek Saturday

Flavourful journey through the city

BIA’s Taste White Rock event returns

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Civic cannabis plan gets the attention of White Rock business groups

Chamber to poll members, BIA would “absolutely support” businesses looking to open dispensaries

Totems to battle Wildcats for Surrey RCMP Basketball championship

Match set for 7:45 p.m. at Enver Creek Secondary

VIDEO: Surrey reviewing Clayton crosswalk after pedestrian hit

The city says investigation in response to safety concerns from local resident

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Vancouver hoping free public Wi-Fi expansion will drive tourism dollars

Mayor Gregor Robertson says expansion bolsters its “leading Smart City” status

Most Read