Cuts to College of the North Atlantic get a failing grade | National Union of Public and General Employees

Cuts to College of the North Atlantic get a failing grade

“Privatizing the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at CNA may be the first sign of privatizing our public education system,” warns NAPE President Carol Furlong.

St. John's (09 April 2013) – The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) says program cuts at the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) could have far reaching implications.

“Privatizing the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at CNA may be the first sign of privatizing our public education system,” warns NAPE President Carol Furlong.

“Government isn’t simply eliminating the ABE program. It appears they are tendering it out to private industry. This may very well be the beginning of the end of our public college system,” Furlong said.

“The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have good reason to be concerned. This action by government causes our union considerable worry and speculation. If government is successful in shifting this program entirely to the private, for-profit system, it sends a message that other CNA programs may be privatized in the future. The College of the North Atlantic, a world class educational institution, could be in jeopardy.”

According to Furlong, the budget speech included funding cuts to CNA, however, the budget speech also announced that there would be a comprehensive review of the College of the North Atlantic in 2014. “We anticipated this review would allow for a process of consultation with stakeholders in the coming year. We were surprised when only hours after the budget was delivered, layoffs and program cuts were announced at the College,” said Furlong.

These cuts could also have a negative financial impact on students. Although the tuition fee freeze will continue at the province’s public post-secondary institutions, it does not apply to the private college system. This could mean higher fees for students and their families at the private colleges which traditionally have much higher fee structures. Additionally, the government could end up paying substantially more to support students in the private system. It should also be noted that CNA has a presence throughout the province and accessibility to programs now being cut may be hindered for students in rural areas of the province.

“Each day since the budget was announced we have become aware of more program cuts,” said Furlong. “This is a far greater issue than privatizing ABE alone. This may very well be about the future survival of our public college system.”

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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