Letter: Suspension of elementary teachers’ ed program incenses UBCO student

A UBC Faculty of Education email informed me that they've decided to suspend the ETEP program for September 2016.

To the editor:

I’m writing today to share with you the tragic tale of the University of British Columbia Okanagan lying to and cheating their current students.

I’m a third year student at UBCO, and have been planning for three years to take the Elementary Education Teaching Program (ETEP) in September, 2016.

I went to Okanagan College for two years to earn my associate of arts degree as a pre-requisite for UBCO’s ETEP. I have one semester left (January 2016), of prerequisites to look forward to. Even though exams are starting next week, I’m super excited to finally start the program I’ve been quite literally earning  my education for. To be an elementary school teacher is a dream job for me.

Unfortunately, last night [Dec. 5] at approximately 9 p.m., my dreams were shattered. I opened a very distressing email from the UBC Faculty of Education informing me that they’ve decided to ‘suspend’ the ETEP program for everyone who had applied for September 2016.

I was informed at the beginning of this year that the Faculty of Education was going through some curriculum changes, and that things would be sorted out ASAP. My big concern was the pre-requisites for the program. In September, I had signed up for courses for this current semester and next semester. This would ensure that I would fully complete all pre-requisites for the September 2016 program.

Now they are going to change things on me right before I finish the prerequisites? The ETEP program is two years in length—well at least it is now, who knows what it’ll be after the “changes.” If there is any change, I’d have to take more courses to fulfill the new prerequisites for the new program. This would then mean that I would have to wait three and a half years to earn my degree (where before the suspension of the program I would be done in two and a half years).

A friend of mine (who had the same ETEP plan as myself) and I had received an email from UBCO in September that said: “Note that the Faculty of Education has committed to admitting students based on the current requirements for the 2016 session.” Apparently this educational facility likes to deceive its students into continuing studies at the school. According to that email we should all be allowed to take the program in September 2016, as promised.

I’m writing this letter to let you know that UBCO has failed us, taken our money for prerequisites that may not even be relevant if there are changes, and has absolutely no regard for those who planned to take the 2016 ETEP program.

I thought these people were supposed to help others earn degrees, not take away their opportunity. They have lied, taken our money and managed to shatter our dreams with one simple email.

On Dec. 17 there is an Okanagan senate meeting taking place (according to the Faculty of Education), where the faculty has to officially get permission to suspend the September 2016 program. In the email they sent us, they did not give the time or the place of the meeting. I find this to be another situation where UBCO has been deceitful by omission of this important information. How can anyone speak up about this if they are not able to find this information?

Fortunately I have found out that the meeting is on Dec. 17, 2015 from 3:30  to 5:30 p.m. in the UBCO Arts & Sciences building. I know that I will be there as well as my parents and other students to express our distress and complete disgust in the way UBCO has handled this.

All this on the last full school day of the year. I have finals and papers due next week which is extremely stressful in itself but to send such a situation on to the students on top of all the other stress is unacceptable.

As it stands, things do not bode well in our favour, so I want to let people know how angry and disappointed I am with this school. I hope that we will be able to generate enough attention to this meeting and have the opportunity to explain to those inconsiderate ‘professionals’ how wrong this whole situation is. I am not the only person who has been wronged, and I know I’m not the only person who cried themselves to sleep after reading that horrible e-mail.

Please help me prevent this suspension from passing the senate. Please help me spread the word.

Heather Hildred, Kelowna

 

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