23 FEBRUARY 2012

AIMS Author calls for expansion of Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program

Halifax: One in ten Canadians reportedly suffers from a learning disability. 2-4% of Nova Scotia public school students – numbering 2,500 to 5,000 – are struggling with serious learning challenges. In AIMS’ latest research paper, AIMS contributor Paul W. Bennett calls for an expansion of the Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program, which provides an alternative for students with special needs not being served by their local public school.

“Rescuing and properly educating learning disabled kids has proven a challenge in Nova Scotia’s regular Primary to 12 schools,” says Bennett. “Demand for such schooling grew to the point where the Nova Scotia Department of Education looked at implementing a provincial Tuition Support Program serving students with learning difficulties.”

“The Tuition Support Program, initiated in September 2004, provides funding to cover most of the tuition costs to attend designated special education private schools and any public alternative education centres,” says Bennett. “But it is only available for Anglophone kids in the Greater Halifax-Truro area. What about the kids in Sydney or Bridgewater or Yarmouth? Francophone children can secure this public support for private schools, but only if they leave Nova Scotia to get their education.”

Bennett recommends a bold provincial policy initiative to close the service gap by knocking down barriers to growth of these specialized private schools and extending this publicly-funded educational lifeline to hundreds of students currently marginalized in the public school system.

“Bennett speaks eloquently of a continuum of service,” says AIMS President Charles Cirtwill. “Expanding the Tuition Support Program is not a replacement for enhanced supports in mainstream classrooms, but a necessary complement to those enhancements. This program works for these kids, we know it, so let’s make use of it province wide.”

A Provincial Lifeline can be found online at:


For more information, please contact:

Paul W. Bennett
Contributing Author
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]

Paige MacPherson
Communications Officer
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]
902.429.1143 ext. 228


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