Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation…

Your Future Ends Later

The Alberta Government has extended the deadline (http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200409/1708286277045-49E7-4DAF-9B6E05FB5B498BE8.html) for the “It’s Your Future” survey to some unannounced date. This means if you haven’t already made your views known, you might still have the chance. By completing this survey you can help direct Alberta money to the areas that you think need it the most.

Of course, the government has its own priorities for the money, as is made clear when you read through the survey. Certain options are definitely played up over other ones, and whether the government will bother listening to what the people say or simply go ahead with their current plans is unknown. We can always hope though.

This survey is particularly important when you consider that the government portion of AU’s funding is at an all time low, and isn’t expected to increase any time soon.

Myself, I’m becoming torn. If Alberta continues to lower the funding they provide to Athabasca University, it becomes easier and easier for AU to decide to move to a province that will provide more support. For those of us already involved with AU though, this would mean significant problems as the move was worked out.

I guess part of me is simply angry because Athabasca University is a great concept, but one that is continually hampered by a short-sighted, tight-fisted government. Imagine what the University could do if it was given funding in accordance with the size of its student body.

Ontario Boosting the Basics

The Ontario provincial government is putting just over a million dollars (http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2004/09/23/c2868.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html) this year into helping ensure that adults in Ontario have basic reading and mathematic skills. In addition to this, two million dollars will go to colleges and universities that teach higher level literacy and mathematics to adults. The reason for this is so that Ontario citizens have the opportunity to reach their “full potential” which sounds nice, until you realize that extra funding for the colleges and universities beyond literacy and mathematics is not being provided. This basically leads to increased pressures on enrolment, driving the marks required for these universities ever higher.

At the same time, the Ontario government still has not said that they are willing to keep the tuition cap in place, so this isn’t really a step to ensure every Ontarian can reach their full potential, more just to try and help the worst off become employable in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of this. It’s just sad to see that the government doesn’t seem to realize that “full potential” doesn’t necessarily stop at your ABC’s. People are better than that, and it’s too bad the government doesn’t give them that credit and back them up through their entire educational career.

Consult for Newfoundland & Labrador

The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador is still accepting submissions (http://www.gov.nf.ca/releases/2004/edu/0924n04.htm) to the committee responsible for drafting the white paper on post-secondary learning. You have until September 30th to make your views and ideas known to the commission.

If you’re an AU student in Newfoundland and Labrador, this is your chance to point out to your provincial government the special needs and requirements of your school, not to mention encourage them to work with AU in support of educating the populace as efficiently as possible.

It’s said that one letter is typically taken to represent the opinions of a large number of voters, so now is a good chance to make your voice loud and clear to your provincial government. Point out the benefits to you personally by being able to go to school through AU, and how you think it would help the province as a whole if Newfoundland and Labrador were more in tune with distance education as a whole

It certainly can’t hurt.

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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