Human services enrolment continues to grow

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November 24, 2016
Online learning is a big factor in the nearly 300% growth in the number of human services students at Lakeland in the last five years.
Lakeland College enrolment numbers continue to grow in human services programming
Online learning was introduced in 2012. It’s expanded across human services programs to include American Sign Language and Deaf Studies as well as traditional programs such as early learning and child care in French.

In the 2015-16 academic year, there were 483 students enrolled in online human services online courses plus another 140 in traditional face-to-face classes. In 2012 there were a total of 159 students in both.

“We have made tremendous strides in how we can connect and interact with students. By providing courses online, not only are we allowing students to study at their pace, they are still able to work and perhaps provide for their family,” says Janice Aughey, Dean of Teaching and Learning.

Another area that has seen a significant increase is the number of students enrolling in online French programming. There were just five students in the first French offering of the early learning and child care (ELCC) one-year certificate program in 2013-14. In 2015-16, there were 93 students. Plus, there are an additional 24 students enrolled in the educational assistant and ELCC diploma programs.

In late October, there were 485 students enrolled in human services programs for the current academic year. This figure includes face-to-face intakes and both English and French online courses. With the growing child care industry, Aughey expects this number to continue to increase and surpass last year’s.

French numbers are expected to continue grow this September when Lakeland introduces French immersion course options for three programs: early learning and child care, educational assistant and child and youth care. This addition was requested by immersion students who wanted to continue their post-secondary studies in in both official languages.

“The province’s French population is growing, and as a post-secondary institution, it is important to be able to provide students with the most effective education possible. Whether students stay within Alberta or move to another province, they should be able to feel confident wherever they go,” says Aughey.

The 2011 Census recorded 238,770 Albertans as bilingual, an increase of 34 per cent over 2006. Alberta’s French-speaking population is growing faster than any other French-speaking population in Canada.

The Government of Alberta is also making strides of their own. On Nov. 15, Premier Rachel Notley announced her government's first step in overhauling the province’s childcare system. The $10-million is to create 1,000 new affordable daycare spaces, including 18 new early learning and daycare centres across the province plus an additional 230 new jobs in the growing industry.

Photo: Human services enrolment numbers continue to increase and is expected to continue to rise with the addition of French immersion programming in September 2017.
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