Joan Shea, minister of advanced education and skills, issued a tender call today for the delivery of adult basic education (ABE).
The provincial government's decision to change the delivery model of ABE, including moving the program out of the College of the North Atlantic (CNA), has been the subject of a lot of criticism.
The minister, however, said the province will continue providing services for adult learners and make the program more responsive to a growing demand for skilled labour.
The purpose of the tender is to secure qualified providers for the program in specific locations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The new delivery model will continue to meet the diverse needs of all Adult Basic Education students and be as inclusive as possible,” said Shea. “All organizations that deliver ABE are required to meet clear standards as defined by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. I can assure adult learners that these standards will continue to apply to any organization that offers the ABE program.”
The tender call applies only to communities where CNA is the sole provider of ABE, with the exception of instances where ABE is delivered at night school and the Waterford Bridge Road Centre.
The province says students attending CNA in a region where ABE is also delivered by a private institution or community group will be assisted in their move to a current service provider. Transition plans are being developed for CNA students currently enrolled in Adult Basic Education.
The province says in its budget review, it was determined that significant cost savings could be achieved by moving the ABE program out of CNA. Currently, it costs about $5,000 more to provide ABE to a student at CNA than a private school. There are about 2,000 students in the province attending ABE programs – about 40 per cent at CNA and 60 per cent through private institutions and community groups.
The tender can be viewed online at www.gpa.gov.nl.ca/availabletenders.stm