ESL classes are full at Vancouver Community College and there’s a wait list, but the college is still ending the program.
The popular program is closing for good in December, despite high demand.
6,000 students enrolled in an ESL class at VCC annually. In fact, VCC has the largest ESL program in the province.
Funding for the program ends at the end of the year, and 150 instructors will be laid off.
Federal transfer of funding for ESL post-secondary programs ended a couple of years ago.
At VCC, only the English program for new immigrants is eligible for federal money.
The provincial government provided $17.2 million in one-time funding to public post secondary institutions for ESL for the 2014-2015 year, including almost $8 million for VCC.
A statement from the Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said, “My ministry continues to explore with VCC all of the options available to determine if they can continue to offer some level of ESL beyond 2014-2015. Our focus is on ensuring immigrants continue to access ESL training to succeed, find jobs and help the province meet labour market demands in a growing economy.”
Students and faculty have started a campaign hoping to put pressure on the provincial government to pick up ESL funding.
— with files from Grace Ke
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