Contact North BC has announced the creation of 20 local learning centres in northern British Columbia to provide on-site support to students who live in remote areas.

Contact North BC, a collaboration between Coast Mountain College (CMTN) and Indigenous communities in northwestern B.C., was created with the goal of expanding post-secondary access for students living in remote and rural communities where there are also large numbers of Indigenous students. Since the soft launch of the project in January 2021, students have registered in more than 400 courses across B.C.’s public post-secondary system.

The provincial government has provided $1.5M of funding for the project. Students will be able to take any BC public college or university course that is offered online while receiving face-to-face and online supports from the centres. NationTalk explains that Indigenous students will especially benefit from the program as it will increase access to programs and academic options while allowing students to remain within their communities.

“First Nations education leaders in our region have requested that we provide more academic options to their students, while allowing them to remain in their home communities,” said Justin Kohlman, president of Coast Mountain College. “This program gives every student in one of these communities the opportunity to take any online offering in the province while knowing they will have quality technology and local staff to support them.”