John Horgan: Building a brighter future starts in the classroom

horgan-headshot

In my travels throughout the province, I get to meet people who have different ideas about what makes B.C. a good place to live. Something that stands out to me is that most people agree on the power of education to change lives.

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When I met a young woman named Makayla, the life-changing effects of higher education really hit home. Makayla is strong and determined. She has limitless potential, but she had a tough start in life. Being a former youth in care, Makayla never imagined that one day she’d be studying at university to one day help kids with backgrounds like her own.

Makayla is one of more than 800 former youth in care who are getting a post-secondary education through our government’s new tuition waiver program. For many of these young adults, eliminating tuition is the key to unlocking a future that offers hope and optimism.

Many young people are like Makayla. They dream of a future where they can contribute and make a difference in their own way. They just need a chance. Our government believes in giving people the chance to succeed.

Education helps lifts people up by unlocking the opportunity to learn a new skill or trade, get a good-paying job, and pursue their dreams.
I’m deeply proud of the work our government is doing to bring down barriers and make higher education and skills training more accessible and affordable for British Columbians.

For too long, the high cost of post-secondary education stood in the way of people reaching their full potential. That’s why one of the first things we did as a new government was to help level the playing field for more British Columbians by making adult basic education and English language learning programs tuition-free. Now, tens of thousands of people can upgrade their skills and pursue a better life.

Education should open doors, not create new roadblocks to getting ahead. We’re helping graduates get off to a better start by eliminating interest from B.C. student loans.

This means that someone who finishes school with $28,000 in combined federal and provincial loans will save about $2,300 in interest charges over their repayment period. Now, new graduates can worry less about their debt and focus more on building their careers.

Similarly, the price of textbooks shouldn’t hold students back from reaching their goals. That’s why we’re investing in more education resources like open textbooks that eliminate royalty fees and use open copyright licenses to help students access affordable learning tools. About 100,000 students in B.C. have saved as much as $10 million because of open textbooks.

For people like Makayla, the first step to a brighter future begins when we open the door of opportunity to education. From there, the sky is the limit.

Simply put, helping people succeed is good for B.C. Businesses benefit when they have the skilled workers they need. Communities thrive when more people have good-paying, family supporting jobs. Services that people count on can expand and improve as our economy continues to grow.

Opportunity starts in the classroom, but it opens the door to so much more. Investing in people leads us to a better B.C. for everyone.

John Horgan is the Premier of British Columbia.

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