April 26, 2010

Education Minister Discloses Errors Made at
College of the North Atlantic�s Qatar Campus

The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, has disclosed that the Provincial Government has been informed that the College of the North Atlantic made substantial errors which resulted in salary overpayments to some employees with the Qatar campus of College of the North Atlantic.

"We have recently been notified by the college that errors were made in determining salaries for employees of the Qatar campus and we are taking action to identify how these errors occurred and immediately address the current situation," said Minister King. "We are bringing in an external consultant to conduct a review of this situation and recommend changes to ensure protocols are in place to prevent a similar occurrence in the future."

It is estimated that approximately 35 per cent of employees with contracts ending December 21, 2010 and 30 percent of employees with contacts ending December 31, 2011 will be impacted by the errors. Qatar employees enter into three-year contracts.

As a result of these salary overpayments, the college overcharged its management and benefits fees which are paid as a percentage by the State of Qatar to the college. A portion of these will now need to be re-paid to the state which is estimated to be in the range of $5 million.

"I want to assure employees of the Qatar campus that they will continue to receive their current salary for the remainder of their contract," said Minister King. "We will continue to work with the college as they address this situation and assess the full financial impact of the errors."

The Qatar campus generates in excess of $6 million in annual net profits with proceeds used to support the college�s Newfoundland and Labrador operations including its management information system, the purchase of capital equipment, and staffing for various strategic initiatives.

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Media contact:

Tara Power
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 727-5953

2010 04 26                                                      1:30 p.m.

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