Thursday, April 26, 2018

City Council may want to hold off on the stamps for their letter to NWCC

Council may have to reconsider the tone and content of their proposed letter to
NWCC when it comes the delivery of ESL programs in the community

As they prepare to fire off a letter to Northwest Community College on the theme of English as a Second language concerns in the community, City Council may want to explore the topic a little further, checking to see if they have the right addressee in mind when it comes to where they intend to send the correspondence.

As we outlined on the blog yesterday, City Council took up the cause of the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Society on Monday might, vowing to draft a letter to urge Northwest Community College to reverse a decision related to the ESL course in the community.

The local society had raised the topic of the end of an ESL instruction program at the college with Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa, who brought the issue up at Monday's Council session, providing a forum for some strong commentary from a few of the Council members.

The topic and the strong response of Council caught our eye and to learn more about the ESL issue, we made a few inquiries of the college as to their view of the situation and the somewhat controversial theme that City Council seems to find itself involved in.

In a reply, the college noted that it was unfortunate that NWCC had not been contacted prior to Monday's meeting to help clarify some mis-information prior to council passing its motion

As well, in a statement from College President and CEO Ken Burt, NWCC offered up some background to the topic of the language program in the Prince Rupert area, as well as a look at some of its other engagement with the community.

The theme of which indicates that Council's planned intercession may need a bit of a rewrite from Monday's narrative.

NWCC President and CEO
Ken Burt
We understand the community’s request for this programming. However, this is not a NWCC issue.

This is a federal service contract that expired in June 2017. NWCC received an extension to continue offering the services until March 31 of 2018 to allow the federal government time to repost the contract for interested parties in the community. 

This contract is to offer a language program for newcomers to Canada. The terms of this contract do not align with NWCC collective agreements and limits the ability of the College to execute the contract in the best interests of the students who require the services. 

The Federal Government expects other community organizations to bid on this contract, similar to what has happened across the rest of the province. 

We are committed to working with Prince Rupert. We have significantly grown our offerings in Prince Rupert over the last year and have developed a three-year plan working with the school district and the community to ensure community needs are met. We have also been working with the city on a plan to help grow the number of new students coming into the city.

More details related to how the Federal government program is delivered across the nation can be reviewed from the Immigrant and Refugees Citizenship Services website (see here).

As for the future for the federal program for language instruction, there could be other options available on the North Coast for its delivery.

One location that might be included for the list of potential instruction, might be the very building that the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Service is based at.

One of the two buildings that host a number of programs and services
for the Hecate Strait Employment Society

The Hecate Strait Buildings on First Avenue East already host a number of programs and services many of them with federal and provincial funding, something which might make that location as the logical placement for the any revised language program.

More items of note related to Prince Rupert City Council can be found as part of our Council Discussion archive.

Further background on education in the Northwest can be found here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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