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University of Victoria faces sharp drop in student numbers

Thirty-two teachers have lost their jobs at the English language centre of the University of Victoria, as the number of students enrolled in language programmes in one of Canada’s oldest language schools dries up.

The centre, which was established in 1970, only enrols English language students, and is the latest language school in British Columbia to be hit by the drop in student numbers caused by the pandemic.

Teachers are taking it pretty hard,” Greg Melnechuk, a teacher at the English Language Centre, and president of University of Victoria Educational Workers’

Union, told the Times Colonist. “However, they understand the reality that the international students have disappeared,” he added.

British Columbia has been hit particular badly, with two Vancouver language schools, Inlingua and Global Village, both closing in May. Global village schools in Calgary and Victoria, which are under separate ownership, are continuing to trade.

Jo-Anne Clarke, dean of the division of continuing studies, which includes the language centre, told the Times Colonist that she realised “these are difficult times for our instructors, many of whom are long-time employees.”

Clarke said she hoped staff could be rehired when new courses come online and students register for those courses.

Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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