Peace Region could be affected by literacy funding cuts

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union is calling on the Provincial Government, to reinstate funding for Regional Literacy Coordinators.

The BCGEU says the BC Liberal Government is cutting literacy funding, despite stating in their election platform that their number one goal is to make BC the best educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent.

Chair of the Fort St. John Literacy Society Orland Wilkerson says it’s too early to tell if the Peace Region will be affected. But, if it is, Dawson Creek could lose one Literacy Coordinator with the Northern Lights College.

Wilkerson says Community Adult Literacy Programs are also part of the funding review.

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On July 16, twenty-one Regional Literacy Coordinators were informed that their jobs are being cut, one year after the government created the positions. Eight of the workers are represented by the BCGEU.

Now, the BCGEU is saying that other provinces have actually increased their funding for literacy. In their April 2009 budget, Alberta increased their funding for libraries by 39 per cent.

Wilkerson says BC should be working towards that goal.

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BCGEU President Darryl Walkers is questioning the government, saying it just doesn’t make sense if jobs and programs are cut, which are specifically designed to improve literacy.

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