Post-secondary education is a cornerstone of Alberta.
While our Universities, Colleges and Technical Institutes have suffered under these extraordinary circumstances, faculty, staff, and students have risen to the challenge of managing the pandemic. There is no doubt about the crucial contributions post-secondary institutions make for Albertans every day.
But Alberta's post-secondary system is under unprecedented threat. Even in the pre-pandemic period, the provincial government set its sights on attacking the sector across the province. It has cut millions from the sector’s operating budget over the last two years. This has meant thousands of layoffs, more pressure with fewer staff, and a lower quality of education for students at a time when their tuition is increasing rapidly each year. Students are struggling with skyrocketing tuition costs.
Now with the pandemic, our entire system is stretched thin. Professors and instructors are working under extreme pressure in offering support to students while shifting under emergency conditions to online delivery. And this is happening in the context of support staff losing their jobs.
It has never been more clear that the working conditions of faculty and staff are the learning conditions of students.
We need to work together like never before to push for our world-class post-secondary education system to be funded like the essential public service it is. Not only for our economy today, but for the economy of the future.