Getting Greener, Not Smarter Say Profs

Created 19 March 2008 03:03

VICTORIA – BC university professors are disappointed that the 2008 provincial budget does little to improve access to and the quality of BC higher education.

“BC may be getting greener with the 2008 budget but it’s not getting smarter,” said Chris Petter, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC). “The Campus 2020 report released last April sets ambitious targets to improve the access and excellence of our higher education system, but this budget does next to nothing to move us towards those targets.”

“For example, BC is way below the national average in awarding undergraduate degrees,” Petter said. “Without significant new investments, we have no hope of ever being a leader as proposed in the Campus 2020 report.”

The Campus 2020 report, written by former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant, recommended the BC government adopt a comprehensive higher education access and excellence strategy in order to meet the government’s goal to make BC the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. A primary target was to bring the post-secondary education participation rates for low-income and Aboriginal British Columbians up to the provincial average.

“This budget fails all students, particularly low-income and Aboriginal students,” Petter said. “We should be making significant investments now to improve higher education participation rates for these under-represented groups, but the money isn’t in this budget. We very much doubt we will achieve the 2020 targets.”

“The Campus 2020 report also gave us hope that we would be able to improve the educational quality for students over the next three years,” Petter added. “But this budget doesn’t deliver. Students will see even larger classes, less contact with professors and insufficient library resources.”

CUFA BC represents 4,300 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at SFU (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), UBC (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), UNBC (Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and Quesnel campuses), UVic and Royal Roads University.
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For further information, please call Robert Clift, Executive Director, at (604) 817-1649.