On May 2, the Ministry of Education announced funding changes for all graduated adult courses (both for continuing education and distributed learning).
For the next school year, funding will only be offered to students enrolled in academic upgrading courses and literacy foundations.
Adult graduates will no longer be able to take a free course at the Keremeos YouLearn centre unless it is a traditional English, math or science course. Introductory, teacher-led computer courses will still be offered on Mondays to everyone in the community.
“Adult graduates used to be able to take anything the ministry offered,” explained YouLearn Vice Principal Will Eaton.
“Now only a limited list of courses will be available.”
Eaton said the decision will “heavily impact our school,” cutting weekly operation from four days to one, and from eight blocks to three (times when teachers are available to connect face to face with students).
Eaton said that the DL model is a perfect fit for a community that is widespread and has so many different needs.
“This is a big blow for Keremeos,” he added, noting the school had to maintain flexibility in terms of making adjustments.
The school offers two types of continuing education – continuing education and distributed learning. With the funding changes, he explained that opportunities may exist for the school to serve the community better through an increase in distributed learning in order to maintain more of a presence for students.
“There are increasing numbers of distributed learning students,” Eaton said, “although traditionally we have had a higher proportion of continuing education students, which requires more of a face to face presence – we are looking at flipping the ratio. Despite the funding changes we have unfortunately had to deal with, we believe our shift toward KLC being a DL centre will create opportunities for Keremeos learners. When one door closes another door opens. Distributed learning is open to everyone, at any time, from anywhere. This is an ooportunity for all Keremeos residents, and we are committed to Keremeos, just taking a different approach.”
Eaton noted that the internet is very useful when it comes to correspondence type programs, helping to provide a means for distributed learning opportunities to maintain a school presence for the student.
“I don’t think funding will dry up completely,” Eaton concluded, “we are committed to having a school presence here – Keremeos is part of our district, and everyone deserves the right to improve themselves through education.”