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British Columbia B.C. axes tuition fees for adult education, English language courses

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks outside Government House in Victoria on June 29, 2017.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The British Columbia government is eliminating tuition fees for adult basic education and English language learning programs across the province.

Premier John Horgan says the move will allow thousands of people to gain the skills they need in order to participate in B.C.'s economy.

The adult program provides high-school level courses at universities and colleges, while the English language learning program teaches English to students who primarily speak other languages.

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Fees for the courses were set by each school and capped at $1,600 for each semester of full-time studies.

Horgan says enrolment in the programs dropped nearly 35 per cent after the previous government brought in tuition fees for the learning programs in 2015.

The premier says there is enough money in the budget to fund the tuition cuts without compromising other services and funding details will be released in his government's September budget update.

Horgan's New Democrats promised during last spring's election campaign to get rid of the fees.

"We can't afford to leave people behind. As a new government, we want to make sure that people can participate in our economy," the premier said Tuesday.

The NDP also pledged during the election to eliminate interest on student loans and implement a completion grant to give people an incentive to finish their post-secondary programs.

Horgan said those initiatives will be outlined in September's budget update.

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