EDMONTON - As a part of their coalition campaign, the organizations behind StopPSEcuts.ca have released the results of a survey which was sent out to the staff, faculty, and students in the post-secondary sector, as well as the public at large. The survey demonstrates a staggering lack of trust in the provincial government’s intentions for the sector.
“A full 94.5% of respondents indicated that they disagreed with the statement that they trusted the provincial government to act in the best interests of the post-secondary education sector,” said Dr. Kevin Kane, President of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations and Professor of Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Alberta. “This level of distrust can be explained when you consider that the government has slashed the Campus Alberta Grant by over $130 million in the last couple years. These drastic cuts have resulted in hundreds of support staff layoffs, which in turn has resulted in unmanageable workloads for professors and instructors, while students are paying even more tuition to attend post-secondary programs.”
Justin Huseby, Chair of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) Local 052 (University of Calgary support staff) stressed that post-secondary is a cornerstone of the Albertan economy.
“The post-secondary sector is a key economic driver in our province,” said Huseby. “Not only is the post-secondary education sector one of the top employers in the province which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy, but it also results in students and staff members renting places to live, eating at restaurants, and shopping at local stores. These drastic cuts will spell disaster for our economic recovery if more people are out of work.”
“Our post-secondary sector trains the workforce of tomorrow, especially as we face down the need to diversify our economy,” added Huseby. “Cuts now will affect us into the future, and 96.4% of respondents to our survey agreed that investment in post-secondary education is a key solution in addressing Alberta’s current economic problems.”
“The post-secondary education sector is perhaps the area where the provincial government has implemented its ideological market agenda to the biggest extreme,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Massive cuts are being paired with pressure to have corporate funders step into the void and increasingly take control of our post-secondary institutions. With another provincial budget coming later this week, we need to fight for the end of cuts to our post-secondary sector; 98.7% of our survey respondents disagree with the cuts.”
“We can clearly see how the working conditions of the faculty and staff become the learning conditions of the students,” said Huseby. “We need to work to protect and strengthen 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.”