Volume 95, Issue 2
Thursday, May 31, 2001
No "good news" for students
To the Editor:
At a press conference held May 15 on campus, Dianne Cunningham, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and MPP for London North Centre, was joined by James Flaherty, Ontario Minister of Finance, to announce new funding for colleges and universities.
According to Flaherty, the new funding reflected the priorities of the people of Ontario.
What priorities? The results of an Ipsos-Reid survey released on May 7 indicated 70% of Ontarians were concerned their children will not be able to attend college or university, even if they are qualified.
Of those concerned, 79% said the main reason for their concern was affordability. Further, two-thirds of Ontarians said they wanted increased provincial funding for colleges and universities, even if it meant cancelling tax cuts or reduced spending in other areas.
According to Cunningham, the new funding was "good news" for parents and students. But students do not want narrowly targeted funding, private-public partnerships, private universities, or deregulated tuition fees.
Instead, students want core operating funding for colleges and universities, funding for deferred maintenance, and a freeze on tuition fees followed by reductions.
Thus, the new funding is far from being "good news."
In fact, the 2001-2002 budget does not even reflect the needed funding for post-secondary education as called for in the government's own, recently released, Investing in Students Task Force report: Portals and Pathways.
Instead of the urgently needed $80 million for the upcoming year, the budget offers only $30 million. This amount will not even offset inflationary costs.
When asked about the threat of further privatization, neither of the Ministers took the time to explain privatization was the selling off of public control and ownership. Nor did they explain our "tough" times are a direct result of their blind ideological commitment to the free market.
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