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Students, teachers affected by LINC program termination

The upcoming termination of the Language Instruction for Newscomers to Canada (LINC) has left some teachers and students feeling uncertain about their future.

A month ago the college announced it will end the LINC contract on Dec. 7.

“I think the LINC program is a link which connects newcomers with Canada,” said Ning Ling Zhu. “It is also a tube that offers us nutrition and a platform, on the platform we can get on the train and move forward.”

Zhu is one of the 160 students currently enrolled in the LINC program at Algonquin, and she’s not alone in her concern about what happens next.

“The LINC staff is like family,” said Jacqueline Seijo, a full-time language instructor who has been teaching the LINC program level 7 for two years.

Seijo was made aware of the contract termination a month ago through an email sent by the program coordinator to the 12 teachers concerned. The news has left Seijo feeling unstable and scared about her future as a language instructor.

“It is a time of transition for the LINC staff, myself included,” she said.

For the language instructors teaching the program at the college, the decision means they will have to find another job in the new year. On that matter, the future remains uncertain.

“We are knocking on doors in the community but we haven’t heard back yet,” explained Seijo. “As for now, we don’t know what we will do or where we will be in January.”

Seijo trusts that she will get an assignment in January, either as a LINC instructor in another establishment or as a language instructor in a different program at Algonquin.

“I am passionate about my job and it is a dream to teach at Algonquin,” she said. “I would love to be able to keep teaching in this environment.”

Shawn Max, who also teaches LINC level 7, knows he will find another job but it might not be at Algonquin.

“Most of us have been teaching for long enough that we sort of have a sense of where we might be going,” said Max. “I have been teaching the LINC program at La Cité and Algonquin, so I will keep teaching at La Cité.”

According to Max, the impact on students is a more pressing concern.

“For the students it’s a bigger deal because Algonquin did have a really good LINC program. The resources are great at the college, teachers have been here a long time, students constantly in these classes interacted in such a way that there was community,” he said. “Algonquin has been a very good place to learn languages and it’s a big deal for the students in the way that they won’t be able to study in this program anymore.”

For Maryam Khaleghi, a LINC student from Iran, the future might be uncertain, but it won’t take her away from Algonquin. At the moment, Khaleghi is looking to enroll in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program next semester, an experience that would enable her to move forward.

“After I want to apply in the nursing program here and finally find a job,” said Khaleghi.

The college’s decision to terminate the LINC program puts an end to 20 years of instructing languages to newcomers to Canada on Woodroffe campus. This federally-funded program intends to teach language through culture to facilitate newcomers’ adaptation in the Canadian society.

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