Students emphasize the need for an access agenda in the upcoming federal election

    OTTAWA, Sept. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Governor General, at the request of
the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, dissolved Parliament today and announced
the much anticipated federal election for fall 2008. Students across Canada
are engaged and mobilized behind post-secondary education issues and are
taking this opportunity to remind all voting citizens and decision-makers that
post-secondary education must be a top priority during this federal election.
    "It is imperative that all political parties create a vision for
post-secondary education (PSE) as part of their greater vision for Canada's
long-term prosperity," said Zach Churchill, National Director for the Canadian
Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). "Our ability to confront and surmount
the challenges of this century - expanding economic growth, the need for
sustainable energy resources, and the crisis of climate change - depends on
our capacity to build a skilled, flexible, creative talent pool in this
country, and the post-secondary education system must be fully mobilized to
this end."
    Currently however, only 42% of our 20-24 year old population attends some
form of post-secondary education; this picture becomes much worse when we look
at specific groups in the country. Only 20% of students from low-income
families pursue university studies and only 29% pursue a college program; only
20% of Aboriginal students are currently pursuing a form of higher education;
and only 17% students who are first generation learners (whose parents didn't
go to university or college) are pursuing university, while only 36% are
pursuing college.
    "These rates are far too low", said Churchill. "They are too low when we
compare the fact that 70% of jobs created in Canada in the last 3 years
required some form of post-secondary education as a minimum entry requirement.
They are too low when compared with the need to replace retiring workers over
the next decade. And they are disgracefully low when compared to our national
values - that special emphasis we place in the ability of every Canadian to
not just dream of a better future, but to realize it."
    CASA proposes that our national leaders invest in a comprehensive
Post-Secondary Education Access Agenda. This agenda must work to increase the
participation rates of Canadians who are currently underrepresented in PSE, in
addition to sustaining current students in the system.
    "This fall, as students begin to mobilize from coast-to-coast in
preparation for the October 14th election, all candidates will be pressured to
make post-secondary education a national priority in order to ensure the
nation's full and competitive participation in the global economy," concluded
    For more information please visit the Federal Election page at

    CASA is a not-for-profit national student organization, offering
progressive, common sense education reform solutions.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Jillian Flake,
Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, (c) (613) 868-6605,

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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