"Advantage New Brunswick" would severely disadvantage post-secondary education in the province

    OTTAWA, Sept. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Association of University
Teachers says the New Brunswick government should reject the report and
recommendations released today by the Commission on Post-Secondary Education
in New Brunswick.
    The report recommends downgrading universities into polytechnics. It
calls for the closure of the University of New Brunswick's Saint John campus,
Université de Moncton's Shippagan and Edmunston campuses - possibly also the
Bathurst campus of the New Brunswick Community College - and replacing them
with three new polytechnics.
    "Change is absolutely needed to improve New Brunswick's post-secondary
education system, but this is very clearly the wrong way to go," said
Greg Allain, CAUT president and a professor at the Université de Moncton.
    "No other province in Canada has downgraded a university into a
polytechnic - it is usually the other way around," he said.
    The report also recommends deregulating tuition fees, using the same
model used in Ontario that allowed institutions to implement large tuition fee
increases. It calls for "capping" student debt at an unacceptably high $28,000
over four years, or $7,000 per school year per student, and eliminating the
current $2,000 grant for first year students.
    "This is a terrible recommendation in a province where, as this report
acknowledges, students already pay the second highest fees in the country,"
said Allain.
    "We must remember this is also the province where the average household
income is among the lowest in the country," he said. "If we want to boost
enrolment in our universities we should start by making them more, not less
    Allain says it is not clear where these recommendations would place
New Brunswick in terms of overall funding for post-secondary education.
    "New Brunswick is already last among the provinces in terms of funding
for post-secondary education," he said. "This report appears to do nothing to
change that grim reality," he said.
    CAUT is also concerned that the report seems to open the door for
government grants to be given to private and for-profit colleges like
    In addition, the report calls for the creation of a New Brunswick
Post-Secondary Education Commission without representation for faculty or
students, and with what appears to be narrowly defined private sector
definitions of quality.

    CAUT is the national voice of over 57,000 academic staff at more than 100
 universities and colleges across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Kerry Pither, Communications Officer, (613)
726-5186; CAUT will post a detailed analysis of the report on its web site at
www.caut.ca later today

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