NDP questions ABE accountability
Dale Kirby, the NDP critic for Advanced Education and Skills (MHA, St. John’s North) is urging the Dunderdale government to ensure that student outcomes in the new adult basic education programs are properly monitored and evaluated.
Kirby referred to a report the Tory government paid $140,000 to former Auditor General John Noseworthy to write; the report cited several shortfalls in government’s administration of the program. Noseworthy pointed out that AES didn’t track ABE students for either program completion or labour market entry, that he suspected inefficiencies caused by having three divisions within the department responsible for administering ABE, and that support personnel were not in place to properly monitor the progress of government-sponsored ABE students.
“Ideally, the minister would reveal the terms of the new ABE contracts with private training institutions,” Kirby said. “She should at least be willing to tell us how the department will track completion rates, whether people still have access to the educational supports they need and whether the new private-delivery model is working better than the previous one.”
He acknowledges this latter comparison will be difficult given the lack of record-keeping and tracking uncovered by the Noseworthy report, but says residents of the province deserve to be provided with evidence that public money is being well spent on private ABE programs, particularly after the massive outcry to government’s decision to take the program out of the publicly-funded College of the North Atlantic system.
“Without this information being made public, any government claims of success will carry as much weight with me as a Tory Blue Book promise,” Kirby said.