By Sheila Nykwist
A broken promise, stalled negotiations and lack of concern have left some continuing education students baffled by the decisions of Ryerson administration.
Julia Tom, a part-time student, has many unanswered questions for those who shut down Ryerson’s evening childcare service just halfway through the year.
“It seems like nobody knows what’s going on,” said Tom, whose frustration began following the winter break when her son’s placement in Ryerson’s evening childcare was left up in the air.
“No one had called to confirm space for him,” said Tom who was forced to call a number of staff before finally discovering the service had been cancelled.
Frank Cappadocia, general manager of the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), said in an e-mail that CESAR is, “working with the administration to find a solution and will continue to consider our options related to the issue.”
Meanwhile, the approximately 40 users who were promised the service up to April are left searching for a replacement.
Tom has posted notices at Ryerson in search of a babysitter, but has had no luck so far. In the meantime, she is relying on family and friends to watch four-year-old Kenneth while she attends evening classes three times a week.
Ryerson’s evening childcare program was the deciding factor for Tom when considering universities last fall.
“The only reason I came here is not for the quality of education but because of the convenience,” admits Tom. “It was great to have right on campus what I needed.”
“The reaction has been varied, but yes, there have been varied, but yes, there have been a lot of upset parents,” Cappadocia said.
Bruce Radburn is one parent dependent on evening childcare who was forced to pull out of his classes this semester. Only two credits away from getting his certificate, Radburn’s hopes of graduating this summer have now been dashed.
“I can’t understand why Ryerson would end such a depended upon service. It doesn’t make sense,” Radburn said. “Ryerson will only lose more students. Where’s the sense in this?”
Capadocia admits that closure of the service has deterred potential students from coming to Ryerson.
“Since Ryerson has the largest continuing education population in Canada, I believe that we should be a leader in continuing education. The loss of this service to the CE population is truly regrettable,” said Vaughn Berkeley, v.p. of finance at CESAR.
Tom believes lack of advertising could have lent to the program’s downfall.
“If I’d known they had the service, I would have come sooner,” said Tom, who waited two years to register at Ryerson because she didn’t know the service was available.
Now, all that remains of evening child-care at Ryerson are bright-yellow flyers advertising a “licensed, accessible and affordable program.”
“They still have flyers offering the service!” exclaimed Tom. “If they’re not offering the service then they should take them down.”
CESAR has not given up the fight however, and is looking for ways to better manage and promote the program, if the power to do so should fall into its hands.
“It is our hope that the service can be reinstated, but that may depend on the outcome of the future discussions with the administration,” Berkeley said.