Alberta High School students are able to acquire post-secondary credits through a Provincial Dual Credit Program. This program is the result of a partnership between two ministries (Advanced Education and Education) and, in some cases, local businesses around the province. It was designed to benefit students by allowing them to:
- Explore and get a head start on their post-secondary studies while still in high school;
- Successfully transition into the work force;
- Lessen their financial burden related to post-secondary education; and
- Successfully complete high school programming.
In the Provincial Dual Credit Program design, a post-secondary institution and a local school board creates a pathway for students by aligning curricular outcomes at both levels. Through the partnership, a design of one or more courses is created to yield post-secondary credits (in most cases transferrable) as well as high school credits. For some courses, a local business might be involved to help students meet the practicum requirements of a specific pathway. The delivery of the program is undertaken by the post-secondary institution, and the partnership also involves financial arrangements between partners to cover instruction, registrations fees and other costs associated with each specific pathway.
Centre francophone d’éducation à distance (CFÉD) is a provincial service provider for the Alberta Francophone School Authorities. In 2016-17, CFÉD offered 69 courses to francophone high school students across the province. The challenge was finding a model that would allow provincial online service providers like CFÉD to join the Provincial Dual Credit Program. CFÉD needed to find a post-secondary partner willing to work with its students using an online asynchronous delivery model in order to allow all potential students to benefit from the program. CFÉD found such a partner and was able to create a pathway for francophone students in child care services. The pathway is composed of a post-secondary course called “ED-120 – Le jeu” and is offered through a unique partnership with Lakeland College. The course is delivered and evaluated by a certified teacher who is also a certified child care program instructor.
To date, CFÉD has had three cohorts of students that have taken the opportunity this pathway has provided. Students that completed the course successfully received three post-secondary credits, five high school credits toward their diploma, and were also awarded a level one Child Care Certificate that allows them to volunteer or work in the industry. Centre francophone d’éducation à distance covers the tuition and instruction expenses associated with the course. Our goal is to continue offering this course on a yearly basis. Furthermore, we are currently working with a new partner, Centre collégial de l’Alberta, in an effort to develop three new pathways for francophone students across the province.