After hearing several pleas from mature students desperate to have their education continue at Chinook Learning Services, public school trustees still chose to end their programming.
As part of its three-year capital plan approved unanimously Tuesday, the Calgary Board of Education will shutter its existing continuing education and upgrading programs at the former Viscount Bennett High School site ending all courses for those aged 20 or older.
Students aged 23 to 43 sat among a packed house at CBE headquarters, pleading with trustees to save their potential to finish their high school diplomas and move on to employment or post-secondary pursuits.
“I deserve an education. Why do I have to keep fighting for it?” asked Sean McIntosh, who will be forced to try and continue courses through SAIT, although he’s worried he may not be accepted.
“You guys are destroying lives. How can you be OK with that?
“We are a growing population, and there’ll be even more of us next year,” McIntosh added, estimating there’s at least 500 students at Chinook Learning Services, many who were unable to finish high school by the age of 20 because of a variety of personal challenges.
CBE confirmed last December they would no longer offer continuing education courses for mature students as part of a cost-saving measure to shut down the aging Viscount Bennett Centre.
The CBE will still continue Chinook Learning Services for a remaining 1,500 students aged 16 to 20 this fall, offering upgrading and high school completion at existing inner-city high schools that are seeing reduced populations including Lord Beaverbrook, James Fowler and Forest Lawn High Schools.
“Unfortunately at this time we aren’t seeing any other options that allow us to keep adult education within the Calgary Board of Education,” said board chair Trina Hurdman, adding that the Viscount Bennett Centre should have been closed years ago.
“Our mandate under the School Act is very clear — we are required to educate students up to the age of 19. It is the job of post-secondary institutions to educate mature students over that age.”
But mature students argued they have no other options, explaining that high school courses at post-secondaries only count towards entry into programs at those specific institutes which are costly and have difficult entrance requirements.
“What if you just want a high school diploma, and you can’t find a job without …read more