Letter to the Editor: Free textbooks support quality education

Students will be starting a new academic year using one of more than 150 open textbooks, provided free of charge by the B.C. government.

By Andrew Wilkinson,

Minister of Advanced Education

Many incoming and returning post-secondary students in British Columbia will be starting a new academic year using one of more than 150 available open textbooks, provided free of charge by the B.C. government.

Open textbooks are available online and use an open licence, making digital versions free to use by students and faculty. Students have the choice of using them online for free, or printing them for a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks, unlike some traditional textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars per course.

More than 170 faculty members at 23 public post-secondary institutions are participating. As a result, it is estimated that more than 15,600 students in B.C. have saved between $1.6 million and $2 million, so far, with open textbooks.

Since British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to launch a government-sponsored open textbook project, students and faculty have welcomed the idea. Many of our student organizations are leading the charge by campaigning to encourage and support faculty to create and adopt open textbooks, which will make the cost of post-secondary more affordable.

Open textbooks are available for a range of courses and programs from popular first- and second-year areas, such as math, chemistry and business, to skills and technical subjects, such as foundational trades courses, healthcare, tourism/hospitality and adult upgrading.

Course selection and career planning are important steps

Choosing these programs and courses can seem like a daunting task. Speaking with family, friends, career counsellors and employers is one way to begin the process.

A good starting place for anyone seeking information about post-secondary opportunities and future job prospects is EducationPlannerBC.ca. Here, you can find advice, information and links to resources such as application tools, financial aid information and job search resources to help plan your educational journey.

It is important to be prepared as British Columbia is expecting almost one-million job openings by 2025. Around 80% of these nearly one-million jobs will require post-secondary education or training.

Two-thirds of the openings will be from retirements and the rest will come from strong economic growth in B.C. Our Skills for Jobs Blueprint outlines the plan by our government to make sure that students are well positioned to take advantage of these job opportunities.

In-demand occupations requiring post-secondary education or training range from professional and management careers to trades, and lead to employment in the technology industry, the resource sector, health care and elsewhere.

As an example, the tech sector employs close to 86,000 people, generates about $23 billion in annual revenue and offers higher than average pay.

The tech sector offers a range of potential career opportunities. For example, a digital media company in Kelowna will need people with different technology skills than a computer gaming company in Victoria.

Higher education remains a priority for government

Across the public post-secondary system, your government invests approximately $5 million every day to support universities, colleges and institutes, while keeping student tuition fourth lowest in Canada.

More than 32,000 new student seats – including 2,500 graduate student spaces – and seven public university campuses have been added to the public post-secondary system since 2001.

Students can also expect to see new buildings springing up on post-secondary campuses as a result of our $2.6 billion-investment in capital and infrastructure projects over the next three years.

Examples include a new Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus that is under construction in Vancouver, a new trades training building at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, as well as the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond that broke ground this summer.

Completing your post-secondary education will pay off whether it is a trade, a certificate or an undergraduate degree. For example, British Columbians with an undergraduate post-secondary degree can expect to earn an additional $827,000 over their lifetime.

Post-secondary education is an investment in your future. Free-to-use open textbooks are just one way that students can continue to access high-quality and affordable post-secondary education. Search the collection of open textbooks online at: http://open.bccampus.ca

 

Just Posted

Nic Pirillo received $1,000 Youth WORK Apprenticeship Award presented to him by Erik Brooke and Catlin Chandler of Broadwater Industries, in front of the boat Pirillo built in his free time using newly acquired skills. (Photo: supplied)
Learning and earning with apprenticeship

Nic Pirillo graduated in 2020 and was awarded the Youth WORK Trades award

According to the BC Centre of Disease Control epidemiology mapping from May 30 to June 5, there was an increase of one case in the Prince Rupert area after a three-week stability of no new cases. (Image: supplied BC CDC)
Prince Rupert second dose vaccination clinic to run from June 14 to July 9

Volunteers needed for P.R. immunization clinic, recipients must register and cases back up to one

Capt. Portugal was getting into the festive spirit out working for the City of Prince Rupert and celebrating Seafest 2021, on June 12. During regular business hours Capt. Portugal is known as David Costa. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Searching out fun in the sun for Seafest 44

Families and friends can participate in weekend COVID-19 friendly activities

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

Relay for Life will be held virtually on June 12. Donations and registered teams are decreased in numbers this year, but there is still time to register. Cancer survivors, Isaac Mastroianni and his dad Mark Mastroianni, wear their Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life survivors shirts. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A lifeline for many, Relay for Life now needs community support

Prince Rupert is one of just four cities in B.C. with teams registered the June 12 event

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Most Read