Sahra MacLean

Sahra MacLean

Dollars for Dogwood concerns student advocate

In the fall, Camosun College will begin charging hundreds of dollars in tuition on some high school equivalency courses.

  • Aug. 8, 2011 2:00 p.m.

A basic stepping stone to higher education will soon be a little slipperier for adults looking to go back to school.

In the fall, Camosun College will begin charging hundreds of dollars in tuition on some high school equivalency courses.

The college will still have about 1,700 free spaces for students looking to earn their Dogwood. That’s 500 more than mandated by the province. But the concern is that some of the available free spaces will no longer include courses needed to pursue a post-secondary education.

Sahra MacLean, external executive for Camosun College Student Society, says the problem runs deeper than the number of seats.

“It’s who gets those seats, what classes those seats are in and when they’re offered,” said MacLean, who is also the B.C. executive with the Canadian Federation of Students. “By just saying we’re offering x-number of seats, it’s not really addressing the issue. It’s a quality over quantity issue.”

Students accessing the adult basic education courses are coming back to school for any number of reasons, facing any number of challenges, whether they’re young or single parents, people with disabilities, or new immigrants, MacLean said.

“They all come together here to try and get that education,” MacLean said. “Grade 12 is what everyone in this province should be able to get.”

Camosun is in the midst of replacing a selection of adult basic education courses, including all high school equivalency science courses, to 100-level, tuition-bearing courses.

Grade 11 and 12 equivalency courses in chemistry, physics and biology, for example, will now cost $361.80 or $440.10, depending on the course.

Last year, equivalency courses were tuition free.

“It’s not a path that we’re absolutely thrilled about,” said John Boraas, dean of Camosun College’s school of access.

“It’s not my first choice on how we would have responded. It’s balancing fiscal responsibilities.”

Boraas oversees the delivery of all English and math courses, some of which will also now charge tuition.

The depth of those new 100-level courses has been expanded to meet both student needs and course prerequisites in preparation for college and university programs, he said. But not all of the new courses are university-transferrable.

“We either had to decide that we just wouldn’t (offer adult basic education), or find a different way to create some capacity that gives students some options,” Boraas said, lauding the student society’s efforts to stand up for accessible education.

“For us, our problem is how do we deal with too little money and too much demand?”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read