Volume 95, Issue 91

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
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Mustangs win in triple overtime

Calm, adversity, then success

Cunningham blasts last place ranking

Forum addresses UWO film fest in-fighting

Tiny tories still squirming

Cunningham blasts last place ranking

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

During a speech on campus yesterday, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Dianne Cunningham slammed a recent study that placed the Ontario government last among Canadian provinces in commitment to post-secondary education.

"The funding that was not considered was half of our budget," she said. "They didn't take into consideration [any] of our funding in [research and development] and innovation," Cunningham said.

"The other side that they didn't measure was the [amount] industry and technology put in with us [as partners]."

The study was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – a left-wing think-tank – and measured equity, quality, accessibility and accountability of education, according to Denise Doherty-Delorme, a CCPA research associate.

"The message is that, depending on where you live in Canada, you're going to have a different [level of] education," Doherty-Delorme said.

Ontario's last-place rank was the result of the lowest operating grants per capita, the highest student/faculty ratio and the second-highest tuition levels in Canada, Doherty-Delorme added.

Cunningham also addressed other post-secondary education issues raised by the audience.

Scott Belton, a first-year honours business administration student and undergraduate Board of Governors representative, asked about access to funding for students in deregulated programs.

"People don't have much sympathy for [students] in deregulated programs," Cunningham said, adding she hoped students would get involved by pressuring banks to lower interest rates on student loans.

Cunningham added the government needs to prioritize. "We've got to do a better job at getting good data on students who graduate now, six months from now and [in] two years," she said.

Rohan Belliappa, president of the University of Western Ontario Progressive Conservative Association, said if the government were to collect more data, it could help address studies by third-party groups.

"The [CCPA] study can't be taken entirely at face value because it's done by a biased group."

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