Halman: New fees add barriers to high school education

All students should have the opportunity to succeed in their high school education, not just those who can afford it, says PC Education Critic Tim Halman.

 

Tim Halman, the MLA for Dartmouth East, was recently made aware that students within the Halifax Regional Centre for Education looking to participate in the Credit Recovery program this summer will have to pay $200 per course. This program runs at no cost to students during the regular school year.

 

“There are a number of students whose grades suffered this year because of COVID-19, whether that be related to struggling with online learning, or having to take on more responsibilities at home,” says Halman. “This fee is a barrier to struggling families who want their kids to succeed in school.”

 

The Credit Recovery program exists to allow students who did not meet a class’s requirements to complete the remainder of that course in the next semester. Typically, it was not offered during the summer, but it is being made available this year at an added cost to families.

 

“If this program is being offered this summer as a result of an abnormal school year, then the government should allow all students’ access to the opportunity, not just those who can afford to pay for it,” says Halman.

 

Sadly, this is not the first time the government has decided to offset the cost of COVID-19 on students and their families. In June, the PC Caucus learned that students whose French language proficiency assessments had been rescheduled for this summer will now have to pay out of pocket to take the tests.

 

This alarming trend worries Halman that Nova Scotians will see more costs transferred from the government to families in an effort to recover costs from the COVID-19 virus.

 

“It’s very troubling to see that students, many of whom are already struggling, are now facing barriers to education,” says Halman. “The McNeil Liberals shouldn’t let this virus turn our schools into a pay-to-learn system.”