Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NWCC President looks to meet with City Council for college overview

Prince Rupert City Council has a few answers now when it comes to recent decisions from NWCC. With the President of Northwest Community College offering up a written response to recent concerns from Prince Rupert City Council related to post-secondary education opportunities in the Northwest.

Mr. Ken Burt, addressed a number of the items noted by Council, offering up his initial reply in a letter from June 8th. In the correspondence Burt looks to clarify some of the impressions taken from recent budget decisions made by the college that serves a number of communities across the Northwest.

The College has recently faced a 1.4 million dollar budget shortfall for the 2015-16 year, requiring a range of options to be considered, including course consolidation, particularly in courses with low enrolment and staff reductions through early retirements, voluntary severances and other initiatives.

The June 8th letter, delivers some reassurance for Council from the NWCC President that "University credit courses in Prince Rupert will remain an integral part" of the NWCC offerings in the city. A situation which will continue to allow Prince Rupert students to pursue Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Science degrees through the Prince Rupert campus.

He also notes the current success of the dual credit programs for high school students, allowing for registration in courses that count for both high school completion and as first year college courses.

Back in April Council first expressed its concerns to NWCC over potential cuts to programs at the
Prince Rupert campus, following up that correspondence with one to the Ministry of Education that provided some background on those issues.

Prince Rupert Council has received two letters
related to their concerns over budget cuts at
Northwest Community College
The Ministry responded this week as well, directing Council's attention to the nature of the College and Institute Act and encouraging the city to work with the college to address any issues of concern.  

As for that engagement, the NWCC President has asked for an opportunity to meet with Council either informally or by way of a presentation to Council at a future Council session.

"Communication with the communities we serve is critical to ensuring developments at Northwest Community College are understood and that we have a clear picture of what our communities need" -- NWCC President Ken Burt, in a letter to City Council from earlier this month

Considering the interest that local parents may have in the options for their children as they leave the SD52 education stream, the most informative platform would most likely be through a presentation a City Council, which is broadcast on Cable 10 and available for viewing later through the City's YouTube portal.

That way, Councillors would have the opportunity to ask their questions, and make observations on their hopes for education in the future, while NWCC would be on the record when it comes to any impacts that their decisions may have on the community and what they hope to deliver to the region in the years to come.

Using the presentation to Council option would allow the information to reach as many people in the community as possible who might have an interest in post secondary education in the region.

You can review the correspondences from both NWCC and the Ministry of Education through the City's website, they can be found in the Information for Council Package for June 17th.

For more background on education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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