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October 27, 2017 8:53 pm

Education Common Theme At Committee Hearings

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 @ 5:58 AM


Deputy Chair Carole James ( in red) photo-250News

Deputy Chair Carole James ( in red) photo-250News


Prince George, B.C.  The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has been hearing  one  recurring issue  during its public hearings  on what should be in the next provincial budget.

That issue is education.

Three of the `12  submissions made  by Prince George organizations  dealt  with  education,  Committee Deputy Chair Carole James  says that  is typical of the  submissions from  other venues “I would say if there was something that was consistent  community by community, it  really is   the issue of both k-12 and post secondary education.”

She says  issues  raised include the pressures  people are facing in the k-12 system from school closures to not enough support for students  with special needs  while in the post secondary  education  area its about  the huge debt loads  students face, and the lack of access to  upgrading with adult basic education.

Then there’s social services  and again  it’s about funding.   James says not for profits are facing major  financial challenges ” Gaming grants have come up,  consistent funding,  stable funding is a theme if you listen a to the groups whether it’s education  whether  it’s sports groups or arts groups,  people are  all  saying the same thing.  Doing things by  short term  grants isn’t the way to fix the challenges we are facing in our province,  we need long term stable funding then we can  go out and find matching funding.  I think that  the renewing part  for me is that these groups and organizations  and others presenting, aren’t asking for government to fix it all, they’re  saying ‘we’ll go out and find matching funds,  we’re able to  stretch a dollar better than anyone can, but we need that stable funding as our  anchor  in order to be able to find that other funding.”

The issue   was also front and centre  for the  Child Development Centre, which says 56% of the children  it  works with  in Prince George are  developmentally delayed when entering kindergarten and only 10%  of those children  are ‘delayed’ due to biological  reasons.    The centre says it is facing a financial  crunch,  having not seen any financial  increases in  years.   It asked for a 50% increase in its therapy  programs to cover the gaps in demand.  It  also  asked for  the Province to stop systematically  underfunding child development services across BC.

The  Physiotherapists  for Northern Communities called for  an increase in seats  for physiotherapy training  with 20 of those seats to be made available for  education  at UNBC.  During the summer, the  lack of physiotherapists was a “critical”   with some physicians   no longer referring patients for  physiotherapy because there  just aren’t any  available to  provide the service.  “When someone is injured it is critical there is timely intervention” said  physiotherapist Terry Fedorkiw.  They also pointed out there are no physiotherapists at any of the residential care facilities in Prince George.  Once again, they  stressed the importance of  training  students in the north the students  will stay in the north.

While the committee is in Quesnel  today  from 9 till noon at the Best Western Plus Tower Inn, submissions can be made  by  following this link   or by  filling out an online survey, available here.

The submissions must be received  by October 14th,  and the  Committee  must  issue its report to government by November 15th.


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