The results of Alberta’s It’s You Future survey are in, showing that education ranks just below health care as an issue of importance to Albertans. The Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), of which AUSU and AU students are members, reports that as of October 20, Education was ranked as a very high priority by 75% of the 250,000 responses reviewed so far.
“Students are happy to see that Albertans have told their government how important post-secondary education is for a debt-free Alberta,” said CAUS Vice-Chair and University of Lethbridge student Jason Rumer. “Education is a top priority of Albertans; let’s see if all the political parties reflect that in the upcoming election.”
This wish may become a reality, as recent reports from the liberal government show that the party intends to commit 35% of all budget surpluses to universities and colleges, according to an October 26th CAUS report, but there is a small catch.
“Liberal leader Kevin Taft committed 35% of all budget surpluses to a post-secondary education endowment fund, if a Liberal government is elected on November 22. Last year, the Government of Alberta surplus was $4 billion.” [CAUS]
Nevertheless, CAUS Chair Alex Abboud notes that “It’s clear that post-secondary education is in the forefront of Albertans minds, and now the Liberals are making it a prime election issue… the challenge now is for the other parties to follow suit and present their ideas on how to make Alberta’s universities the best in the world.”
AUSU will be watching the parties closely and listing the website addresses of each party on the AUSU home page, so that students can review the platforms and determine which party will be committing the most to improving access to education in this province.
CAUS is also continuing to work to ensure that education funding is a priority issue for all of Alberta’s political leaders. “CAUS presented the idea on creating a post-secondary endowment to the three major political parties during the summer. ‘We got great feedback from those presentations, and it’s great to see a party incorporating students’ ideas in their election platforms,'” said Abboud. [CAUS Oct 26]
The importance of these initiatives is highlighted by a recent Statistics Canada report “showing [that] tuition has gone up by over 270% since 1993 in Alberta’s universities and an Alberta Learning report showing only half of Albertans believe a post-secondary education is within the means of most.” [CAUS Oct 20]
For more information on these initiatives, watch the AUSU front page and see Wise Up website, sponsored by CAUS, ACIFA, ACTISEC, AGC, and CAFA at: http://www.wiseup.ca/ The group will also be producing television ads to air across Alberta on Global, CTV and A-Channel. You can also view the television ads here: http://www.wiseup.ca/television.html