Cuts reducing work terms, internships for postsecondary students
NDP Advanced Education and Skills critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) says AES Minister Joan Shea must reconsider planned cuts that will see dozens of college and university students scrambling for work experience. The cuts affect Memorial University Education students, as well as university and college students who complete work terms as part of their educational requirements.
On Wednesday, Memorial University announced that it has been forced to cancel the upcoming April student intake for the Rural Internship Program due to cuts made by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. The Rural Internship Program provided tuition, transportation, and accommodation assistance to education students to enable them to undertake their teacher internship training at rural schools across the province. The program has been suspended until further notice.
“Last year the Minister of Education was praising up this program for helping connect teacher trainees with the rural schools and communities who need them,” said Kirby. “This year government is cutting all funding to the Rural Internship Program and forcing its cancellation.”
In addition to the cuts to rural teacher training funding, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills has confirmed, in a letter to Kirby, that government is considering a reduction in the number of work term students it hires. The letter reads, in part, “We will honour any commitment that has already been given to a co-operative education student … but may not be able to sustain the same level of investment as in previous years.”
"Internships and co-op work terms give post-secondary students valuable, practical experience in workplaces across Newfoundland and Labrador," Kirby said. "Instead of continuing to invest in our students, and developing the skilled workforce this province desperately needs, government has decided to balance its books at their expense. Students are being forced to pay the price for government’s financial mismanagement."