Media releases | September 15, 2009

EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta’s Task Force on Post-Secondary Education launched a province-wide advocacy campaign today to convince the government that investments in advanced education are vital in these difficult economic times. Cuts to post-secondary education are already having an impact on many institutions, and deeper cuts will significantly reduce the quality of education in Alberta.

“If the vast majority of Albertans believe supporting post-secondary education will help diversify our economy and improve quality of life for all of us, why then is the government forcing institutions to make cuts that will affect the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education?” asks Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “The provincial government has the resources to invest in post-secondary education – it is simply a matter of priorities.”

“We are concerned that students applying to the system now and over the next number of years will have a harder time getting into institutions,” says Beverly Eastham, Chairperson of the Council of Alberta University Students, and Vice-President External with the U of A Students’ Union. “We are also concerned that those that do get in will find it more difficult to access required higher-level classes. This pressure is only increasing as the economic downturn drives many Albertans to return to school seeking skills and sustainable employment.”

“Faculty are being pressured to provide diverse and engaging programs with fewer members, and the quality of education is threatened by inflating class sizes and limited access to resources,” say Betty Anne Ross, executive member of the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association and President of NAIT Faculty Association. “The government also should be supporting a broad range of research and development, not just in a few targeted areas.”

“In many institutions around Alberta, staff who provide necessary services are not being replaced as they leave and retire,” says Russell Eccles, President of the Non- Academic Staff Association at the U. of A. “The resultant increased workload, combined with deferred maintenance issues at most institutions, will certainly have an impact on the quality of education and will mean more stress and long-term disabilities for those who stay.”

The advocacy campaign calls on people from all walks of life to challenge the plans for deep cuts to post-secondary education. We are building a network of advocates throughout Alberta to engage their MLA's and participate in the on-going campaign to advocate for better quality and more accessible and affordable post-secondary education. 

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