All Posts Tagged With: "PSE"
Finance committee sticks to economic role of universities–research “must be commercialized”
Unsurprisingly, those hoping for the federal government to take a robust role in higher education will have to wait. At least that is the view of the Standing Committee on Finance, which filed its pre-budget report yesterday. The report contains a litany of recommendations, including a few of direct interest to students and universities, that may or may not pop up in next year’s budget.
Though the committee met with several “witnesses,” or gaggles of interest groups, there doesn’t appear to be much connection between what the committee was told and what it recommended.
On education, the primary concern of witnesses were measures that would require the federal government to intervene deeply into provincial jurisdiction, and coordinate higher education policy from Ottawa. Chief among these measures would be a “Post-Secondary Education Act.”
Modeled on the Canada Health Act, a PSE Act would require that the Canada Social Transfer be divided between social services and post-secondary education. Stipulations would be put in place to make the funding contingent on the provinces actually spending the money on education, rather than on roads and other items. Presently, the only requirement placed on provinces with respect to the CST is that eligibility for services, like social assistance, not be tied to residence. They are free to make residence a requirement when concerning admission to university, however. While the federal government announced such a change in 2007, it was all but forgotten a year later.
After reviewing witness submissions, the committee instead recommended:
The federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, explore the development of a national strategy to promote greater emphasis on Canadian education services exports.
So while the committee did recommend the government explore a “national strategy” of sorts, and though universities may welcome it, it is not the type of strategy witnesses advocated. Why even bother calling for submissions from Canadians?
As for student aid, the committee advocates a new refundable tax credit be created to encourage graduates to relocate to regions having difficulty recruiting workers:
[It is recommended that] the federal government create a refundable tax credit for new graduates. The proposed tax credit should be available to those who move to designated regions and engage in employment in their field of study.
The question that comes to mind is, wouldn’t this duplicate policies already in place? Sasaktchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick–who all have trouble attracting workers–already provide tax credits (or rebates) to graduates who live and work in the province, no matter where they went to school. And generous ones at that.
Ministers pledge to remove all barriers to study, and create “appropriate economic conditions for students”
European ministers with responsibility for post-secondary education in the 46 countries involved in the Bologna Process recently met at the University of Louvain in Belgium to set priorities for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for the next decade. The statement released following the meeting highlighted the importance of equitable student access to post-secondary education as follows:
“The student body within higher education should reflect the diversity of Europe’s populations. We therefore emphasize the social characteristics of higher education and aim to provide equal opportunities to quality education. Access into higher education should be widened by fostering the potential of students from underrepresented groups and by providing adequate conditions for the completion of their studies. This involves improving the learning environment, removing all barriers to study, and creating the appropriate economic conditions for students to be able to benefit from the study opportunities at all levels. Each participating country will set measurable targets for widening overall participation and increasing participation of underrepresented groups in higher education, to be reached by the end of the next decade. Efforts to achieve equity in higher education should be complemented by actions in other parts of the educational system.”
Will students believe the federal Liberals after McGuinty’s broken promises to them?
The Liberal Party of Canada is promising more funding for post-secondary education and by the sounds of things, they include increasing student support in that envelope.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Grits have decided their election platform wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. On Friday, the McGuinty government announced over $100-million in cuts to student financial supports.
It will be interesting to see if students will believe the federal Liberals after McGuinty’s broken promises to them.