Adult basic literacy students at Douglas College will continue to work at keeping their class
By Patrick Vaillancourt, News Editor
Douglas College administrators announced last week that they would be keeping the daytime adult literacy class going through the Winter 2014 semester, in accordance with the commitment the college made with the literacy students earlier this year to discontinue the class as of the spring.
The students and their I-CARE program tutors are celebrating this small victory and promise that they will continue their effort to keep the class going beyond next spring. Although the class will continue for its existing students, it will not be able to accommodate any new students. There are roughly 10 people on a waiting list to enter one of the literacy classes.
The 12 students in the daytime literacy class have challenges in attending similar classes held at different times primarily due to family commitments or physical impairment.
Earlier this year, Douglas College’s senior management team made a decision that would see basic literacy services at the college scaled back. Students in the daytime class, supported by their I-CARE program tutors, petitioned the Douglas College board to make a presentation at the November 21 meeting, but last week their request to appear before the college board was denied. Representatives of the literacy students are scheduled to meet with Douglas College President Dr. Scott McAlpine and Dr. Kathy Denton, the college’s vice-president of academics and provost, early next month.
Amyn Gillani, a student in the daytime literacy course, says that he’s happy with the decision to extend the class for another semester and that he’s “getting smarter and smarter everyday.”
“Coming to school is a joy,” said Gillani, who is studying in an effort to acquire a BC driver’s licence.
Meg Stainsby, the dean of the faculty of language, literature, and performing arts, told the Other Press in a phone interview that the decision to extend the daytime class for another semester came after a review of student progress and the needs of these students.
“We want to support the students who are currently enrolled who find themselves in the transition,” said Stainby.
Some of the students in the daytime class have not yet completed the 100-level courses, and upon review, the college has decided to keep the daytime class for another semester to allow for current students to complete their level and move onto higher levels in the program.
Stainsby also said that, while Douglas College administrators made the decision to reduce the 100-level adult basic literacy classes by half, resources and alternatives will be provided to those in the community who are on a waiting list to join a class. The college plans to offer one 100-level literacy course, which would accommodate about 12 students per semester, particularly because it ties in with the I-CARE program, Douglas College’s tutor certification practicum.
Stainsby also indicated that the daytime classes are not being “targeted,” but that the decision on which class to eliminate, be it the daytime or evening class, is a decision left to the program coordinator.
For the time being, the students are happy to know that they will have a class to come back to after the holidays, and indicate that they will continue to lobby college administrators to keep both 100-level courses.