Career-Technical Centre Closer to Reality

September 25, 1997 - 5:00pm

A plan to establish a career technical centre for secondary students in Nanaimo received the green light from Malaspina University-College board members, Thursday, September 25.

The centre is a joint venture between School District 68 and Malaspina University-College, and is modelled after similar centres in the Fraser Valley and the United States.

Approval for the concept clears the way for a joint application for funding to the Ministry of Education, Skills and Training, and if funding is approved, the centre could be open as early as September 1998.

The career-technical centre would give students an alternative for completion of their Grade 12 education, as well as the first year of post-secondary education.

Initially, the centre plans to offer four or five career-technical programs leading towards an applied skill in such areas as carpentry, electronics, dental assisting, computer animation, automotive mechanics, hospitality services, and forestry.

The proposal stated that "A career-technical centre provides opportunities for student who are having difficulties finding relevance in our current education system. Students who may not be bound for university can attend a career-technical centre to receive training which prepares them for work in specific technical areas.

"These students make up more then two-thirds of our student population and are the backbone of our future workforce. Both our secondary and post-secondary systems have many students for whom purely academic studies have no appeal. These students either drop out, or scrape through school with no real enthusiasm for learning. These are students who need a more practical, hands-on education. Studies have found that dropout rates for these students decrease dramatically when academic studies are integrated with skills.

"In school district 68 it is estimated that more than 600 students a year leave the secondary system prematurely. The primary reason for their departure is that they do not see the relevance, for them, of the education they are receiving."

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