VICTORIA, B.C. – More students in grades 11 and 12 will be able to earn both high school and post-secondary credits towards careers in early childhood education with the expansion of the dual-credit program, including School Districts 59, 60, and 81.

Peace River South, Peace River North and Fort Nelson will expand their dual-credit program through an online course in partnership with Northern Lights College that originally started earlier this year, with five additional courses being added in September 2022.

In a release, B.C’s Ministry of Education and Child Care and Ministry of Children and Family Development says it is introducing 30 new dual-credit programs at school districts throughout B.C.

The release says this will be funded by a $4.1 million provincial investment provided through Budget 2022.

Additionally, $1.15 million in funding from the federal government was provided in the years 2021-22 through the 2021-25 Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to support workforce development in the child care sector.

The ministry estimates that 800 secondary students are expected to enrol in dual-credit programs in early childhood education by the end of 2025.

The program covers tuition costs for the courses, cutting students’ expenses.

The release says since 2018, more than 30,500 new licensed childcare spaces have been funded.

It is anticipated that there will be more than 10,000 new job openings for certified early childhood educators and assistants in the coming decade.

A release states that through the 10-year ChildCareBC plan, the province is committed to building a future where childcare is a core service.

To do this, the government is investing in early childhood educator recruitment by improving access to training, professional development opportunities and bursaries, as well as providing better wages.

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.