Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

Budget update demonstrates renewed commitment to post-secondary education

Sep 11, 2017 FPSE News

September 11, 2017 | VICTORIA, BC—The Budget Update announced today by the BC government demonstrates the government’s commitment to increasing access to post-secondary education. Following the recent announcement to eliminate tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning classes, the Budget Update outlines the funding for these programs.

“Students and faculty have been calling for the elimination of tuition fees for adult basic education for several years,” said Simka Marshall, Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students (BCFS). “The removal of financial barriers for adult education programs will allow some of the most marginalized people in our communities to access basic upgrading and education.”

The Budget Update allocates $19 million in funding for adult basic education and English language learning in the post-secondary and K-12 sectors for the remainder of the 2017-18 year. The government has not provided forecasts for the following years, saying that appropriate funding will be budgeted based on enrolment changes in this current academic year.

“After 16 years of neglect from the previous government on issues related to post-secondary education ranging from tuition fees to working conditions to funding, this government has taken the refreshing position of listening to stakeholders and acting quickly to make improvements for both students and educators,” said George Davison, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE). “While there is still much work to do, including reinstating funding for Adult Special Education programs, we commend the government for their action thus far. We look forward to working with them to continue improving the choices and opportunities in post-secondary education for all British Columbians.”

The BC Liberal government eliminated $6.9 million in funding for post-secondary adult basic education programs in December 2014. At the same time, they allowed tuition fees of as much as $1,600 per semester be charged. Since that time enrolment in these programs has declined dramatically—by as much as 60% at some institutions. Since 2013, roughly $15 million has been cut to English language learning programs offered through post-secondary institutions.

The BC Federation of Students represents over 150,000 post-secondary students at 14 universities and colleges in every region of BC. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC represents 10,000 faculty and staff at BC’s colleges, universities, and institutes.

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For more information, please contact:

Simka Marshall, BCFS Chairperson (604) 733-1880

Nicole Seguin, FPSE Communications Officer (604) 831-6684

FPSE: A History of Activism

Aug 31, 2017 FPSE News

In 1991, the FPSE (then CIEA) produced and circulated 250,000 copies of an election pamphlet titled Today’s education – Tomorrow’s Opportunities: An Advanced Education and Training Agenda for British Columbians, marking the federation’s first foray into electoral activism.

We argued that all British Columbians should be able to receive the post-secondary education they need or want, and that our future depends upon removing all barriers to advanced education – financial, geographic, language, gender or disability. We understood then, as we do now, that our future depends upon government making stable, long-term investments in post-secondary education.

Since then, our advocacy has expanded in print and online, and the federation takes an active role in advocating for post-secondary education during elections. 
 

IN 1991  WE PROPOSED:

  • That post-secondary education be treated as an investment in the future of our province, rather than an expense to be slashed when times are tough.
  • That B.C. commit itself to meet at least the national standard for the participation of students in post-secondary education.
  • That B.C. spend at least the national average on student assistance programs.
  • That B.C. offer post-secondary students a universal non-repayable grant as do other provinces and that high student debtload be eliminated.
  • That tuition fees for students, which are among the highest in the country, be frozen.
  • That the real costs of quality post-secondary education be recognized and provided and that funding be put in place to repair our post-secondary system and improve quality, as well as to support enrolment growth.
  • That funding per student be returned to at least its 1981/82 level plus inflation.
  • That the government immediately provide additional funds to support career, technology and vocational programs.
  • That the provincial government make a commitment to our public post-secondary system. Privatization of vocational and career programs is neither cost-efficient nor does it guarantee all qualified students an affordable, quality education.

GOOD NEWS: Funding for Adult Basic Education and English Second Language programs restored

Aug 9, 2017 FPSE News

After years of lobbying, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) is delighted with news that Premier John Horgan has restored funding to Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in B.C.

Cuts to ESL education announced by Ottawa in late 2013 led to huge tuition fees for ESL students, and provincial cuts to adult basic education, starting in January 2015, shut the door on post-secondary ambitions for many adult learners. The introduction of fees for ESL and adult basic education disproportionately affected low income earners, single parents, newcomers, refugees, and aboriginal students.

FPSE President George Davison attended the funding announcement Tuesday, August 8, at Camosun College in Victoria, where he met with Premier Horgan, Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark, and Education Minister Rob Fleming.

“Premier Horgan’s announcement marks the end of a three-year campaign to ensure that adult learners and newcomers have access to basic education and language training in B.C.” said Davison. “Our members were clear that adult basic education and English language programs provided foundational skills essential to secure employment and further post-secondary learning.”

The premier’s announcement is a victory for our members. Our Open the Doors campaign resulted in pre-election commitments to restore funding for these essential programs from the BC NDP and BC Greens, and from the BC Liberals in their aborted Throne Speech. The announcement is an important step in making sure that our education system is more affordable and accessible for all.

“This is good news for our members, and for anyone who cares about education in our province. But our work isn’t over,” said Davison. “There are a number of serious issues still facing our members in both public and private institutions throughout B.C., and we will continue to press the new government on those issues, including improving the trades training system, addressing affordability for students and student debt levels, the casualization of precarious academic work, and fulfilling the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Statement on new BC Government

Jul 18, 2017 FPSE News

On July 18, 2017, Premier John Horgan and his cabinet were sworn-in and are now the official new government of British Columbia. Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC President George Davison was in attendance to witness this historic moment, and had the following to say on behalf of the Federation:

“Over the past 16 years, government funding of post-secondary education has massively declined, placing an unsustainable burden on students and families across BC. On behalf of the member locals of our federation, we welcome The Honourable Melanie Mark, M.L.A., to her new role as Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. We are confident that the new government is committed to improving the lives of all British Columbians with a renewed commitment to providing better choices and opportunities in post-secondary education.”

We look forward to working with the minister on issues such as free access to Adult Basic Education and ESL, reducing student debt including the elimination of interest on student loans, support for rural colleges, and indigenization of the curriculum.

FPSE has always worked to ensure post-secondary education remains affordable and accessible and that it meets the needs of people throughout the province. We look forward to working with Premier Horgan and his government to address the challenges ahead.