TORONTO, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - The brief mention in today's throne speech of
the government's intention to promote a knowledge economy and learning society
"does not address the need to protect and enhance the quality of education at
Ontario universities or outline how the quality required by higher education
in the province is to be achieved. Our universities continue to struggle with
increasing student enrollment and diminished resources," said President Brian
E. Brown, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty
"OCUFA welcomed the 2005 Reaching Higher plan for post-secondary
education, but the government needs to follow through with this vision and
fund it sufficiently," said Brown. "We want the government to restore per
student funding for postsecondary education to the national average," Brown
An investment of one hundred and twenty five dollars per person or
$1.6 billion every year for the next three years would allow Ontario to hire
the 11,000 full-time professors that it needs by 2009-2010 to keep up with
enrolment and ensure internationally competitive student-faculty ratios.
"OCUFA is here to tell the government that post secondary education is
threatened by funding levels that have not repaired the damage inflicted in
the 1990's. Ontario's inflation-adjusted, per student funding for universities
is still 25 per cent below the Canada average and 33 per cent behind American
peer institutions," continued Brown.
Ontario has the worst student faculty ratio in Canada of 27 students for
each full-time professor, while its American peer jurisdictions had a
15-to-one ratio. Not coincidentally, says OCUFA, recent surveys show Ontario
universities score 28 per cent lower on student engagement than their
better-funded peers in the United States.
"The data on per student funding, student faculty ratios and students'
interaction with faculty show that Ontario has reason for concern. But these
problems are reversible. Ontario must seize this opportunity to ensure
students receive the quality education that they deserve," concluded Brown.
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