Media releases | March 21, 2007

EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta called on the provincial government today to implement a bold new plan for Alberta’s post-secondary education system, based on developing the full potential of every Albertan.

Members of Public Interest Alberta’s post-secondary education task force, representing staff, students and faculty at the majority of Alberta’s publicly funded colleges, technical institutes and universities, held a media conference today to release an extensive discussion paper entitled, Where to from Here? A Vision and Plan for Post-Secondary Education in Alberta. 

"Alberta’s post-secondary education system exists upon a strong foundation, but years of inadequate support and neglect have taken their toll to the detriment of individuals and the province as a whole," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.

"In order to make a genuine difference, we need the government to commit to funding levels that will allow us to make substantial improvements in the quality, accessibility and affordability of our system. Spending is now less than 1% of the provincial GDP, when back in 1992 we were close to the target of 1.5 % of GDP," says Moore-Kilgannon.

"This document recognizes that there is a tremendous opportunity for Alberta to make prudent policy changes and investments in post-secondary education that will have far-reaching effects on Alberta’s global competitiveness," says David Milner, speaking on behalf of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations and the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association.

Milner further stated, "If we are going to meet the challenges facing our growing province, we must implement a plan that is firmly committed to attracting and retaining the best faculty, staff and post-graduate students. We have heard vague commitments to doing so over the past number of years, but instead of moving ahead as they are in Ontario and B.C., we have not yet even seen a comprehensive plan."

"The Alberta government needs to commit to a dramatic expansion of our system, not only to accommodate our growing population but also to increase our post-secondary education participation rate to ensure that it is among the best in the country," says David Cournoyer, Chairperson of the Council of Alberta University Students. CAUS and the Alberta Colleges and Technical Institutes Student Executive Council (ACTISEC) together represent over 200,000 students in Alberta.

"We challenge the Stelmach government to remove the financial barriers to post-secondary education by committing to reduce tuition and associated fees to the lowest in Canada."

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