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Education minister announces $16.4 million in dual-credit funding

The Ministry of Education is continuing its investment in the province’s dual-credit high school programs by announcing Wednesday a $16.4-million investment over the next four years.

“This is considerable expansion,” said Education Minister David Eggen. “I would say that it probably doubles the expenditures from the previous years and thus we would expect it would at least double the students participating in the next four years.”

The funding includes $8 million to develop at least 40 new dual-credit courses per year over the four years. Many of the new courses are expected to be available to students in September.

In the spring of 2014, after a one-year test project, then-premier Dave Hancock announced $11 million to fund a larger, three-year dual credit initiative. That previous funding recently ended.

“The pilot had expired and so we knew that it was a very successful program and we knew that with our future-ready initiative that we could see tangible results, students (getting) higher completion rates, better attendance rates and better post-secondary participation from the pilot,” Eggen said Wednesday.

Dual-credit programs allow students in grades 10 to 12 to complete credits towards post-secondary programs. It also gives students the chance to try out possible career paths, many in the skilled trades, while they are still in high school. Graduates receive credit toward a high school diploma and also get credits in a post-secondary apprenticeship program.

Approximately 9,800 students have completed one of the courses since 2012, according to a news release.

The announcement took place against a busy backdrop of more than 700 high school and post-secondary students competing in the province’s largest career fair and skills competition, the Provincial Skills Canada Competition, held at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

The competition features career opportunities in many of the fields covered by the dual-credit program, from carpentry to machine making to baking and culinary arts.

“This is where today’s brightest and most dedicated young apprentices and high school students are showcasing their skills and talents and passions,” said Peter Lawlor, president of Skills Canada Alberta.

Winners of the skills competition will compete in Winnipeg next month for Team Alberta.

“We believe that through these activities more students will discover interests and talents which they may not know they’ve had,” Lawlor said.

The program’s announced funding begins at $1.1 million for the 2017-18 school year, increasing to $6.3 million by the 2020-21 school year.

source : Calgary SUN
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