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An open letter on Adult Basic Education privatization

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Earlier this month the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, Gerry Byrne, was in the media speaking about how the cost to deliver the Adult Basic Education program has inflated since the program was privatized in 2013. Documents from the government show that tuition fees have skyrocketed, while enrolment in the program has decreased significantly.

I am currently studying at the College of the North Atlantic to become a carpenter, but I was also part of the last cohort of students that graduated from the ABE program before it was privatized in 2013. The ABE program at the College of the North Atlantic gave me the tools I needed to become a successful carpentry student, but now I fear that since the privatization of the program, so many people will not be given that same opportunity.

I was born and raised in Deer Lake, NL and for many reasons I didn’t graduate high school the first time around. It was in 2010, when I had my little boy, that I realized I had to get my high school equivalency and pursue a post-secondary education. There was no way I would be able to support both of us on a minimum wage income, and most entry level jobs require some sort of certificate or degree, so I decided to enrol in the Adult Basic Education program at CNA.

I had a wonderful experience at the College of the North Atlantic. The instructors were knowledgeable and caring, and provided us with a lot of support and guidance. My original plan after completing the ABE program was to study Early Childhood Education, but one day a representative from the Women in Resource Development Corporation came to speak to us about the possibilities of women in the trades. They told me about the Orientation to Trades Technology Program, which I eventually applied for in 2014.

 

The OTT program provided me with an introduction to the different trades, and gave me the experience I needed to make the decision to study carpentry. It also helped by bumping me to the top of the wait list for the program at CNA. Now I am set to graduate from the carpentry program at the College of the North Atlantic’s Clarenville campus in May of this year. I am so happy to have this new set of skills that will provide me with new and better employment opportunities so that I can provide a good life for my young son.

I consider myself very lucky; if I had started ABE one year later, I would have gone to a private institution. Not only did the high tuition fees at private colleges make it impossible for me to consider those institutions as an option, but also I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try out the different trades with the OTT program.

It is a shame that so many people will not be able to attend the ABE program to obtain the basic skills they need to get their foot in the door of a college or university, because  the tuition fees are now triple what they were at the College of the North Atlantic. It’s clear that privatization isn’t working. The system we have isn’t working. It’s time for the provincial government to step up and fix our broken system, so that people can have a chance at a life they deserve.

Lauren King

Clarenville

I am currently studying at the College of the North Atlantic to become a carpenter, but I was also part of the last cohort of students that graduated from the ABE program before it was privatized in 2013. The ABE program at the College of the North Atlantic gave me the tools I needed to become a successful carpentry student, but now I fear that since the privatization of the program, so many people will not be given that same opportunity.

I was born and raised in Deer Lake, NL and for many reasons I didn’t graduate high school the first time around. It was in 2010, when I had my little boy, that I realized I had to get my high school equivalency and pursue a post-secondary education. There was no way I would be able to support both of us on a minimum wage income, and most entry level jobs require some sort of certificate or degree, so I decided to enrol in the Adult Basic Education program at CNA.

I had a wonderful experience at the College of the North Atlantic. The instructors were knowledgeable and caring, and provided us with a lot of support and guidance. My original plan after completing the ABE program was to study Early Childhood Education, but one day a representative from the Women in Resource Development Corporation came to speak to us about the possibilities of women in the trades. They told me about the Orientation to Trades Technology Program, which I eventually applied for in 2014.

 

The OTT program provided me with an introduction to the different trades, and gave me the experience I needed to make the decision to study carpentry. It also helped by bumping me to the top of the wait list for the program at CNA. Now I am set to graduate from the carpentry program at the College of the North Atlantic’s Clarenville campus in May of this year. I am so happy to have this new set of skills that will provide me with new and better employment opportunities so that I can provide a good life for my young son.

I consider myself very lucky; if I had started ABE one year later, I would have gone to a private institution. Not only did the high tuition fees at private colleges make it impossible for me to consider those institutions as an option, but also I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try out the different trades with the OTT program.

It is a shame that so many people will not be able to attend the ABE program to obtain the basic skills they need to get their foot in the door of a college or university, because  the tuition fees are now triple what they were at the College of the North Atlantic. It’s clear that privatization isn’t working. The system we have isn’t working. It’s time for the provincial government to step up and fix our broken system, so that people can have a chance at a life they deserve.

Lauren King

Clarenville

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