The government of Alberta released the final results of a year-long post-secondary education review this month. In true bureaucratic fashion, the much-hyped results of the review conducted by top government officials and stakeholders amounted to a disappointingly vague 26-page report of recommendations.
The report is little more than a list of possibilities, which may or may not be implemented depending on what the government decides. It's a pathetic result for a review that the Alberta government promised would radically change the face of pse in Alberta.
Premier Ralph Klein promised students the pse review would make Alberta the most affordable province in which to get an education, and Advanced Education Minister Denis Herard gave the Gauntlet his personal guarantee that students would be "very happy" with the results of the review.
We held our breath as the report was released and let out a collective sigh of disappointment as both Klein and Herard's statements were proven false. Student leaders were not "very happy." The University of Calgary Students' Union condemned the report for ignoring many of their concerns. As for affordability, at more than $5,000 per year for tuition alone, pse in Alberta remains well above many other provinces in Canada, despite our fair province's massive oil revenues.
To add to it all, after their year-long pse review, in which stakeholders from across the province were consulted and then re-consulted, the government is entering into yet another round of tuition consultations. Asking students what they need is a positive step for the Alberta government, but students have already spoken in the first round of consultations, and consulting students yet again is just more pointless bureaucracy.
In the first round of consultations, Alberta students called for a tuition roll-back to $3,500 per year and suggested all future tuition increases be tied to the rate of inflation. The government already heard these demands, partially used them, partially ignored them, and came up with their own policy of rolling tuition back to present levels, and tying future increases to the rate of inflation.
Students aren't changing their message, so unless the government wasn't listening the first time--and apparently they weren't-more tuition consult-ations will be a fruitless endeavor.
The A Learning Alberta report is an over-hyped dud. It's not binding, and even if every single recommendation in the report is implemented-which is unlikely-pse in Alberta will be slightly improved, not revolutionized.
For the richest province in Canada, whose government can afford to spend over $1.3 billion on rebate checks, a slight improvement in post-secondary education is simply not good enough.