A coalition of post-secondary education stakeholders will release poll results tomorrow that indicate Albertans view the province’s post-secondary education system as fueling economic growth, improving the quality of the health-care system, addressing labour shortages and strengthening communities.
Dr. Walter Dixon, President of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations and Professor at the University of Alberta says “the survey research clearly demonstrates that Albertans see the importance of post-secondary education in building Alberta’s future, and want to see the provincial government make it a priority. We hope that this timely survey will send a message to all candidates and parties in the provincial election that post-secondary is critical to the future prosperity and quality of life of all Albertans”.
The fact that a majority of Albertans also say that the provincial government should spend more money on our post-secondary system underlines the degree of broad public support for post-secondary education.
Timothy Jobs, Chair of the Alberta Students’ Executive Council, explains, “It’s clear that solutions that help students have cascading effects in improving the health of our economy, our communities and our families. Without enough Albertans entering the system, we run the risk of crippling our capacity to address future challenges.”
The poll also indicates that Albertans are concerned about financial barriers to accessing post-secondary: mounting student debt loads and escalating costs were a concern for nearly two-thirds of respondents, and 61% of parents indicated that they were worried about how they would pay for their child’s education.
Farid Iskandar, Vice-Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students notes that “Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate in Canada. We need to take costs in our system seriously and introduce measures to help Alberta families achieve their educational goals”.
The stakeholders who commissioned the poll represent more than 250,000 students, instructors and researchers at Alberta post-secondary institutions.