OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The organization representing Canada's university and college educators says today's federal budget is a major disappointment for post-secondary education, leaving Canada's researchers behind, providing no new support for universities and colleges to deal with increasing enrolments, and no relief for students grappling with high debt loads and tuition fees.
"The government was supposed to have taken time off to 'recalibrate,' but there's been no change in direction when it comes to post-secondary education and funding for research," said James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
"We are disappointed to see only a modest $32 million for the granting councils that fund basic research," said Turk. "This may compensate for inflation, but it doesn't begin to make up for the significant cuts announced last year," he said.
Turk noted that while the provinces will be receiving the 3% increase in transfer payments announced in the 2007 budget, CAUT is concerned that this is insufficient for universities and colleges facing increasing enrolments and escalating costs.
"This will mean fewer student spaces, higher tuition fees, fewer course offerings, larger class sizes and reduced student services," said Turk.
Also troubling are the numerous initiatives aimed at promoting the commercialization of post-secondary research, Turk says.
"A central theme in this budget is a continuation of the government's efforts to force universities and colleges into a closer embrace with the private sector," said Turk. "This threatens the integrity of research and the independence and quality of education, and in the long term this will also work against real innovation."
SOURCE Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
For further information: For further information: For interviews please contact James Turk, CAUT's executive director on mobile (613) 277-0488