Editorial—Hold on to Your Wallets!

It’s now official.  Athabasca University will be increasing tuitions by 7% across the board.  At the same time, negotiations with the various labour groups at the university seem to be heating up as well, with AUFA having recently done a survey and finding out that almost half of those surveyed don’t trust the senior management of AU.

AUSU, along with the AUGSA, has been arguing against the university needing to make these increases based on their solid financial footing and on how these fees will make the university less competitive when it comes to attracting out of province students, but to no avail.

Given how various members of the board were replaced with the advent of the United Conservative Party taking over the Alberta government, I’m not surprised.  The Board is unfortunately being required to take marching orders based on what the UCP feels is best for them, not necessarily for students or Albertans.  And what’s best for them is to ensure that they are able to lower their deficit despite the tax breaks they’re giving out, but you can find more about that in Francesca Carone’s story this week about the Alberta Budget.

Also this week, Natalia Iwanek returns with her second article.  This time she looks at the new push in Ontario to make all high school students take some of their education online.  This is being met with various types of pushback from educators who are not sure if this is the best course to be setting students on, especially those of high school age.  As you might expect, I think it’s a good thing.  Exposure to distance and online learning early will help deal with whatever stigma is remaining about it as opposed to bricks and mortar education.

And while I don’t discount some of the concerns Natalia notes, they are, at this point, merely concerns, not proven problems.  Concerns are no reason not to proceed, they merely suggest things we need to watch for to see if they actually become problems.  I also tend to think that some of what they list as concerns aren’t taking into account that the world and society continues to change.  Socialization for students no longer happens at the drive-in movies, or at the local drive-through while waitresses roller-skate up to car windows, for instance, but it still happens—these days, often while playing League of Legends or some such with their friends half a continent away.  Life proceeds, and unless we’re willing to prepare our young people for how life is instead of how life was, we’re making things more difficult for them.

Plus, our feature article is an interview with a well travelled student coming to AU to get his professional accounting designationsAnd then on top of that we of course have various articles of advice, thoughtful considerations, a great mood piece from the Porkpie Hat, scholraships, events, and more!  Enjoy the read!

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