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Options being assessed for NORTEP transition plan in northern Saskatchewan

The NORTEP council will lead consultations to assess options for transitioning its post-secondary education to another institution. File / Global News

The Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) council will lead consultations to assess options for transitioning its programs.

In a letter dated July 28, the Saskatchewan minister of advanced education stated that government funding to NORTEP would be discontinued as of July 31, 2017, and be redirected to another post-secondary institution.

READ MORE: Sask. gov’t to work with NORTEP council as post-secondary overlap is eliminated

NORTEP officials spoke out, saying it was part of the government’s “transformational change” to minimize perceived overlap and save money.

The ministry and the council came to the agreement that changes in the delivery of NORTEP and Northern Professional Access College (NORPAC) programs must be carefully considered to minimize impacts on students.

Advanced Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre travelled to La Ronge last week to hear from the community.

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“It has been inspiring to hear again from students firsthand how university opportunities in their home communities have opened doors for them,” Eyre said.

“This government is committed to ensuring that post-secondary education is accessible to students, responsive to the needs of the community and maintains the quality that the citizens of Saskatchewan expect.”

READ MORE: NORTEP students protest provincial funding cuts in northern Saskatchewan

Consultations with stakeholders and other post-secondary institutions will be held this month to assess options for providing teacher and arts and sciences education beyond July 31, 2017.

Recommendations from the NORTEP council will be sent to the ministry in December.

Ministry officials said it will consider the finding and determine a student-focused approach for transitioning programs. A decision is expected early in 2017.

“This decision is not about moving programs out of the north,” Eyre said.

“This is about making sure that the north has sustainable post-secondary programs and opportunities, including the teacher education that it deserves.”

There will be no changes for NORTEP students currently enrolled this year.

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