B.C. NDP CRITIC for Advanced Education David Eby visits North Island College during his tour of the province's post-secondary institutions.

B.C. NDP CRITIC for Advanced Education David Eby visits North Island College during his tour of the province's post-secondary institutions.

NDP’s advance education critic making the rounds

B.C. NDP critic for advanced education David Eby said he's gained a better understanding about the issues rural colleges face.

B.C. NDP critic for advanced education David Eby said he’s gained a better understanding about the issues rural colleges face thanks to his tour of the province’s post-secondary institutions.

Eby has already been to about three-quarters of B.C.’s post-secondary schools during his month-long tour. Last week, he visited North Island College.

“As a new critic, it’s a huge advantage for me to come and talk to students about the challenges they face right now, which are very different than even when I went to school, and to administrators about what they see as the challenges in the system that they’re working with,” Eby said Thursday outside NIC’s Comox Valley campus.

He was on his way in to speak with NIC president John Bowman, so hadn’t yet dug into the specific issues NIC faces, but during his tour he’s noticed rural college administrators and students have many similar concerns.

“The rural schools face very similar challenges and have very similar concerns about funding,” he said. “In particular, they’re worried that the system has no way of taking into account the impact of training five people in a particular skills area in a smaller community, and they’re currently being funded in a way that they have to have a minimum of 15 or 20 people in a class.”

He added the economic impact of training five electrical engineers in Courtenay, for example, would be far greater than training five electrical engineers on the Lower Mainland.

“We need to get past the idea that you have to have 25 people in a class in order for that class to have a successful economic impact,” he continued.

“I think that this school, like so many other rural colleges, faces the very serious issue of being funded as if they were located in the downtown of Vancouver. Many rural colleges service multiple campuses; they have higher heating costs, they have higher supply costs.

“And they also have communities they serve that need to be able to access their programs and get to these programs more urgently because they’re totally disengaged from the economy right now. So, I think the greatest opportunities are in rural areas, but also the greatest challenges are faced by rural colleges.”

He added that while funding remains static, schools are being asked to offer more and more to their communities.

“So, they find themselves spending a lot of time trying to make up revenue through various sources, like international students or private contracting, these kinds of activities, and unfortunately that distracts from what should be one of their key mandates, which is educating British Columbians for the jobs that are going to be there in the future.”

Eby also said rural students have been telling him they can’t even borrow enough money in student loans to go to an out-of-town school; he noted one student told him it would cost $15,000 for their school expenses but the maximum student loan they could get was $10,800. He pointed out being able to borrow more in student loans is not an optimal option, however.

Eby added the “rotating door at the top of the ministry” means there’s been no coherent plan in the advanced education system.

He had planned to visit Camosun College on Friday as he continued his tour to better understand the issues around post-secondary education in B.C.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HIGHLAND sECONDARY scHOOL comox
COVID-19 exposure at sixth Comox Valley school in past eight days

Island Health has posted an exposure alert at a sixth Comox Valley… Continue reading

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit https://nicart.tickit.ca/. (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor joins North Island College Artist Talk series

North Island College’s virtual 2021 Artist Talk series welcomes Sandra Meigs, past… Continue reading

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Photo: Lt. Sandy Pridmore, MARS Darlene Banerd, MARS, Warren Warttig and Captain Rob Stevens show the new automatic external defibrillator (AED) that will be located at the MARS facilities located at 1331 William Beach Road, Black Creek. Photo supplied
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society adds AED to Williams Beach Road location

Submitted Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has collaborated with the Comox Firefighters… Continue reading

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read