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Teachers knew adult ed ‘sinking fast’: BCTF

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Teachers in adult education in the province have been feeling the heat for some time — many refer to the profession as “second class” and had been worried about its collapse well before government cancelled funding for graduated adults in May.
FOTOLIA

Teachers in adult education in the province have been feeling the heat for some time — many refer to the profession as “second class” and had been worried about its collapse well before government cancelled funding for graduated adults in May. FOTOLIA

Teachers in adult education in the province have been feeling the heat for some time — many refer to the profession as “second class” and had been worried about its collapse well before government cancelled funding for graduated adults in May.

In a new report, titled Lost Opportunities for Students, Employers and Society, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation compiled years of data to measure how the category was performing.

It found that despite years of growth in student numbers, and having far more experienced teachers compared to contemporary schools, one-in-four teachers had their work hours reduced since 2012.

A startling figure was how 68.6% of teachers reported increased stress compared to five years ago — and the vast majority of them blamed what they called the “attitude of the provincial government.”

“This is the highest proportion of teachers reported increased stress that has ever been identified in BCTF surveys of B.C. teachers to date,” the report said.

The study draws links in the huge disparity between adult teachers’ workplace conditions and their Kindergarten to Grade 12 counterparts.

Only a third of adult educators have any paid preparation time, versus how elementary teachers, in the 2013-19 collective agreement, were allotted 100 minutes per week of prep time.

Half don’t even get a lunch break — the majority of those who do have a break reported getting 30 minutes to eat, the study said.

“Some respondents mentioned what they perceived as the growing instability of the adult education system, with limited funding, a sense of pervasive cutbacks, and an overall sense that the adult education system may cease to exist in the near future,” the report said.

“One respondent described adult education as a “ship with a very big hole,” with the implication that ... it was sinking fast.”

 

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