Editorial—Government Goings On

Recently in Alberta, a number of colleges have been granted university and degree granting status.  I don’t really have any problem with this, but I do get annoyed when part of the reasoning why these colleges state they need to be able to grant degrees is because the people in the area have said they want to be able to get a degree closer to home.

This makes no sense unless there is something closer to home than at your kitchen table (or where-ever you have your computer) which is already available through AU.

These communities don’t need new universities, they simply need to know all the options that are available to them already. It makes even less sense when even an NDP government is telling post-secondary institutions to find ways to cut costs, especially when you consider that AU is a cheaper way for the government to get education to Alberta citizens.

Even ignoring how AU receives less funding for operating per student (because much of that is based on out of province students) we’re a more affordable option for government because we need less capital infrastructure. We don’t need to build extra space to acoomodate extra students. We don’t need to build a university residence (which has no educational purpose in and of itself) to support someone gaining their post-secondary.

But instead, places like Grand Prairie and Red Deer College are becoming degree granting institutions, with Grand Prairie specifically looking toward developing a nursing program of its own.  This means that all the overhead involved with creating, maintaining, and running a nursing program will be duplicated once again at another institution, and provide nothing that couldn’t already be provided at several universities in Alberta, or even in your own home.

At the federal level, the government of Canada released it’s proposed budget for 2018/2019.  It’s drawn praise from the usual suspects, outrage from the other set of usual suspects, and a shrug from most of Canada.  What’s interesting in this one, however, is the attention that’s being given to gender.  Some call this divisive.  I don’t.  Acknowledging and acting to redress divisions that are already present I don’t feel is a divisive thing, although some people are made uncomfortable by the acknowledgement part.

Notable for us in post-secondary is that the budget has made significant additions to research, as well as some directed funding toward indigenous learning and women’s safety on campus.  On the down side, no adjustments were made to the student loans system or to improve the general accessibility of post-secondary education.  So it’s a mixed bag on that front.

However, the gender focus of this budget seems to be a particularly hot-button issue for many people, which fits right in with our feature article this week, about an AU student attending a women in politics event and what she took from it.  It may be a bit controversial, but getting discussion going among students is part and parcel of The Voice Magazine, especially during AUSU’s current election.  And if you still haven’t voted and are wondering where to find out more information, be sure to take a look at our “Informing your Vote”, and then act on it.  Otherwise, enjoy the read!