Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Once for a Millennium

The federal government’s Millennium Bursary may be undergoing some changes and the federal government is attempting to consult with Canadians on what they want to do with this $285 million dollars that is awarded each year.

If you want your say on where that money can go, you can start by going to this site: http://bm-ms.e-consultation.ca/ (http://bm-ms.e-consultation.ca/) and reading through some of the materials there. Don’t worry if you don’t want to let them know who’s talking, they’ve thoughtfully provided means to make your comments anonymously, though of course I expect anonymous comments will carry less weight.

Most importantly, the government is looking for stories and ideas about where the focus of the Millennium Bursary should be – should it stay with high need students, and should it focus on increasing the amount of assistance allowed, reducing debt, or something else? Should it focus on students that come from low incomes only, or should it consider those students who may be in need even if income isn’t that low. (A situation which may apply to many an Athabasca University student who works full-time and is trying to get their degree done. An extra bursary might enable them to cut back a bit on work hours and concentrate more on school.)

At any rate, it’s certainly a chance for us to press home to the government the problems with the current system and massive student debt loads.

Students’ Union gets Federal Funding

The Students’ Union at the University College of Cape Breton has, with the help of the federal government (http://www.ecbc.ca/e/newsreleases/20040504b.asp), started the Student Employment and Entrepreneurial Centre offering skills training for students. The total cost of the centre is expected to be about $667,100, and the federal government is chipping in almost $264,000 of that through the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, a federal corporation devoted to advancing the economy of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia.

The centre will have some programs specifically targeting the needs of aboriginal youth, but will also encompass a wide variety of other programs from opportunity identification to legal issues, and will use methods including “experiential learning, self-directed focused study, skills development, and individualized support and coaching.”

I wish the UCCB Students’ Union much luck and encouragement in getting this thing going. That’s an awful lot of student money going into it.

Athabasca University Gains New Board Chair

Learning Minister Dr. Lyle Oberg has appointed (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200405/16392.html) a new chair to the Athabasca University Governing Council. This is the body that oversees the direction and goals of Athabasca University as a whole and is the group ultimately responsible for any policy changes. The new appointee is Mr. David J. Burnett (http://www.athabascau.ca/presoff/augc_new/indexrevised.htm#davidphoto), a chartered accountant and previous president of NorTerra Inc., who was previously the vice-chair of the Governing Council. Mr. Burnett was a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and has also worked with Habitat for Humanity, Scouts Canada, the Edmonton Boys Choir, and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards program.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have something to worry about, and in this case it’s the fear that part of the reason for the appointment was because of Mr. Burnett’s strong background in private industry and the monetary focus that must come from being a chartered accountant. As a student, I’m hoping that his service and charitable background will balance that out.

A native Calgarian, Karl is perpetually nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Information Studies. He also works for the Computer Sciences Virtual Helpdesk for Athabasca University and plans to eventually go on to tutor and obtain his Master’s Degree.

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