Volume 95, Issue 49
Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Tories receive poor marks
Poll: education policy not supported
By Joel Brown
Ontario professors are hoping a recent study of London residents, which suggests public support for the Tories is waning, will lead Queen's Park to increase support for universities.
The survey, released yesterday by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, found 71 per cent of Londoners gave the government a 'C' grade or less for handling post-secondary education.
"Considering the London area is traditionally a Tory stronghold, these findings are quite telling," said Henry Jacek, OCUFA president, who revealed the results yesterday in London.
"The public understands students are at risk of being turned away from publicly-funded universities because of overcrowding, lack of resources and an inability to afford higher tuition fees," he said.
Tonya Cholakov, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, disagreed with the belief the government is not doing its best to provide support for post-secondary education.
A $293 million spending increase, expected in time for the double cohort in 2003, is indicative of the government's commitment to affordable education, she said.
However, Jacek said he believes $500 million should have been invested so universities could cover costs beyond the increase in enrollment.
"I have no doubt the Minister [of Training, Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham], left to her own devices, would invest more money, but the problem is she's a part of a whole government who is holding her back," he said.
Western anthropology professor Dan Jorgenson said he believes the school has its hands tied due to a lack of government funding, he said Western's administration should re-prioritize where it spends money, he said.
"The money that was lost to [TD Waterhouse Stadium] could have gone to paying professors," he said.
While the study showed only one per cent of the respondents believed post-secondary was the most important issue facing the government compared to 62 per cent for health care Jacek said he is confident post-secondary education is at the forefront of London residents' concerns.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001