By Ryan Dahlman
Taber Adult Learning (TAL) has numerous programs that benefit many in the community and the M.D. of Taber. One program popular with those near and far is the General Educational Development GED program.
Val Wiebe, a TAL specialist, says the program is popular and has been getting attention from students.
“We do have pretty good numbers with our GED. When I started, four years ago here, the GED course had maybe eight or sometimes it didn’t even run. I think its popularity has just built probably due to economic conditions here, everywhere and just the need for training and upgrading, and by that I mean a lot of our students here, some of the younger ones are trying to be welders a lot. A lot of the guys are coming in wanting to have their own welding and mechanic shops. To finish their apprenticeship, they need to either have a high school diploma or GED and that’s where the GED comes into place. For them to go back to school for three years of high school is just not feasible, it’s not going to happen. But they can do our GED course in 11 weeks and get the certificate they need to further to benefit themselves, not only education-wise, but financially and most of them do start their own businesses. That’s just one aspect of where the GED is,” she said.
“I know years ago, the GED didn’t hold any clout, it was just an extra course on the side. When I started here and got asked to take that on, I was just amazed at the depth of this program. This is a real thing. This is filed with Alberta Education, just like your high school or college or university. Marks will go in there so does your GED, it will get registered in there. It’s a pretty intense course,” she added.
Wiebe says they have students aged from 18/19 all the way to 63 and are from a wide range and all walks of life, including newcomers to Canada. She says the recommendation is GED students have at least Grade 9 in Canada to be successful, but she has seen an example of students who have been so enthusiastic to overcome any challenges they may have had. She remembers some students in such a situation who came in and it was inspiring what they accomplished earning their GED.
“It was just overwhelming on my end to see that — how hard they tried. They never missed a class. They drove from probably an hour away just to come to class,” recalled Wiebe. “Even in bad weather, they needed when they took advantage of tutoring. They did everything they could and they pass that GED so to say you need to be a grade nine level. You probably should be, but there certainly are exceptions.”
The GED preparation class will be available from Jan. 25-April 7, 2022 for Intake 1. For Intake 2, the class goes from March 8 to May 19. Each session is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at the Provincial Building Boardroom in Taber, but there will be Zoom available for those in rural or long distances. Exams will be held April 11-13 for Intake 1 and for Intake 2, May 24-26.
The GED class costs $400 and the GED exam costs $300.
However, Wiebe points out that students may qualify for the Alberta Works Part-Time Studies grant to cover testing and training.
There are five subjects — science, social, math, language arts reading and language arts writing. In language arts writing, you will be expected to write a one-page essay.
“In 11 weeks, you could have that equivalent to high school. It is not high school, again. You’re not going to walk into a college and say ‘I want to be a nurse with your GED’,” explained Wiebe, who sees what happens when students get their GED and use it as a stepping stone to something they want. “(That’s) what makes all of this program is that it is really rewarding. So there are lots of success stories out there, believe me and they’re very thankfully working hard. I guess because they work so darn hard, this when they do get it, it’s exciting for them.”
Anyone concerned about not succeeding because they have challenges, including no computer, or being particularly weak in a certain subject, Wiebe says instructors, tutors, and the TAL staff will do absolutely everything in their power to ensure students can get the ability to work hard to accomplish their goal.
Taber Adult Learning is also an official writing centre so students can write the official exams right in Taber.
For those wanting to register, contact Wiebe at 403-223-1169 or in-person at the Provincial Building (5011-49 Ave. Taber).