Government introduces new bursary

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The provincial government is introducing a new bursary for aspiring early childhood educators.

$513,000 of funding is going toward the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. The new bursary will hopefully assist in resolving any financial obstacles that aspiring early childhood educators may be facing. Students who are enrolling, or enrolled, in early childhood education programs are eligible for this bursary, although because of an “identified need”, priority will be given to:

  • Aboriginal students;
  • Students enrolled in early childhood education programs that have an Aboriginal focus; and,
  • Students studying early childhood education while specializing in infant/toddler education

Students would be able to apply for a maximum of $300 per course, for a maximum of $1500 per term.

As mentioned in the B.C. Early Years Strategy, which was launched in February, 2013, this new bursary program is part of the provincial government’s commitment to increase students’ access to early childhood education and care-provider training.

Lindsay Lichty, an early childhood education student at Langara College, Lindsay Lichty says she is grateful for the support, recognition and encouragement, and is eager to now focus more on her studies.

“As an early childhood education student, finances become another element in the juggling act that is post-secondary education – another demand of time and energy that could be better invested in one’s studies. The provision of bursaries is a way for organizations to demonstrate their support and encouragement of a future that is filled with dedicated early childhood educators with unlimited potential and reach,” she said.

Emily Mlieczko, the Early Childhood Educators of B.C.’s executive director, also hopes this will provide current and future early childhood education students with less financial obstacles, and further assist current students in completing their program.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to re-establish the E.C.E. bursary program and support the development of a high-quality workforce. With the funding provided through the Ministry of Child and Family Development, the bursary program will be available for students wishing to advance their training in early childhood education. This is a welcome announcement and will make a positive impact on addressing the financial burden facing many choosing this career,” she said.

For more information on the bursary program or how to apply, please email the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. at mailto:membership@ecebc.ca.

Info about the B.C. Early Years Strategy:

  • “The B.C. Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of [early childhood education] programs and services for families with young children.”
  • “Government has committed $76-million to support the first three years of the strategy, including $32-million to support the creation of up to 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces.”
  • “The strategy also includes a new B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit. Starting in April 2015, the benefit will provide $146-million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $55 a month per child). In order to receive this benefit, parents file their annual income tax returns and apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit. All parents with young children should ensure they file their 2013 tax return.”
  • “The Early Years Strategy builds on the $1-billion per year [that the] government spends on early learning and childhood development initiatives, services and supports, including:
          – Full-day kindergarten.
          – Programs that support healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy.
          – Early childhood development care and learning program investments, including public
            health nursing, Ready, Set, Learn programs and StrongStart B.C. early learning programs.
          – A variety of programs, services and supports to address the specific needs of children and
            youth with special needs.”
  • “More than 104,000 licensed child-care spaces are currently funded in communities throughout B.C.”

Feature image credit: BC flag via Shutterstock

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