CALGARY – Calgary university students, faculty and staff have launched a campaign called “Post-Secondary Education is the Answer” in response to the premier’s recent comments that the province is considering cutting post-secondary funding and lifting the cap on tuition fees in the upcoming budget.
The campaign, supported by Public Interest Alberta, draws on a February poll conducted by Environics Research Group that found a large majority of Albertans believe investing in post-secondary education will help fix the challenges facing the province as oil prices drop.
“Clearly, Albertans understand that investing in post-secondary education helps build stronger, safer, more vibrant communities and a more diversified and stronger economy,” said executive director of Public Interest Alberta Bill Moore-Kilgannon in a statement. “Given the poll shows strong support for PSE [post-secondary education] in all political parties, it is clear that Jim Prentice is not hearing the message that further deep cuts to PSE institutions are the wrong path to take.”
The poll was based on a telephone survey held between Feb. 13 and 23 and included responses from 1,012 adult Albertans.
An event promoting the campaign was held at the University of Calgary Wednesday morning,with students hoping to mobilize public support for more investment in post-secondary education.
The gathering followed a meeting between Prentice and the university’s board of governors last Friday, during which the premier said “more discussions” will take place with secondary schools leading up to next month’s budget. He said faculty and staff will have to share the fiscal pain with students, which could include pay cuts.
Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of the Calgary, responded by saying any cuts would be significant.
“An additional cut is obviously going to be tough for us, we’re looking at various scenarios as we speak and one thing that could be on the table is access,” said Cannon on Friday. “We want to ensure quality of our programs, and if we have less money, unfortunately that could translate into fewer students on campus.”
Watch a video launched by the “Post-Secondary Education is the Answer” campaign on Feb. 27, 2015:
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