Back-to-School poll shows strong support for investments in post-secondary education, a message that Premier Clark needs to take more seriously says educators

VANCOUVER, Sept. 5, 2011 /CNW/ - "A majority of British Columbians give the provincial government a failing grade on its handling of post-secondary education," said Cindy Oliver, President of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators which represents over 10,000 faculty and staff working in BC's post-secondary institutions. Oliver was referring to the results of an Ipsos Reid poll that the Federation released today. The poll surveyed the views of 822 British Columbians on a variety of education issues.

"It's quite amazing the degree of support there is on a number of post-secondary education issues," Oliver added. "For example, 92% agree that higher tuition fees make it harder for students to get an education, 87% think tuition fees should be frozen or reduced, 84% say student debt makes it harder to complete a degree and 78% agree that one way to improve job prospects for young adults in BC is for the provincial government to invest more in public universities, colleges and institutes," Oliver noted.

"Unfortunately, the reality that we see in our post-secondary institutions is that real per-student operating grants—the provincial government's direct investment in our public institutions—have declined by 8.8% since 2001. Over the same period tuition fees have more than doubled and student debt has skyrocketed. None of these outcomes makes post-secondary education accessible or affordable, two things that a strong majority of BC voters want to see improved," Oliver stressed.

"Premier Clark has an opportunity this Fall to begin reversing course and making the needed investments that the public supports.  Hopefully, these polling numbers will bolster her resolve to invest more in our public institutions," Oliver concluded.

For complete poll results, go to http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=5319

SOURCE Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

For further information:

Phillip Legg, 604-788-2877

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Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

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