Alberta’s NDP knows that a well-funded and highly reputable post-secondary sector is critical to equipping Alberta’s future leaders with necessary skills and to maintaining and growing research and innovation. Equally important is that post-secondary education be accessible to all — whether in tech, trades, fine arts, sciences, liberal arts or elsewhere.
We also know that investing in the post-secondary sector means investing in growing our economy. A strong post-secondary sector is critical to attracting and retaining quality employers in Alberta. Surveys and research have found that some of the most important considerations for investment attraction are a skilled workforce, quality education system and liveability. The UCP's plan to decimate funding runs directly contradictory to its stated goals of drawing new companies and new economic investment to Alberta.
Furthermore, there are serious concerns regarding post-secondary accessibility in the years to come. The government’s own data suggests annual enrollment between 2015 and 2029 is projected to increase by almost 40,000 students per year. If the province fails to ensure that a sufficient amount of spaces is available to young people looking to study in Alberta, they will be forced to look elsewhere for opportunities and potentially leave the province for good.
We need a better path forward. We need a Government that supports post-secondary, that makes our schools a draw for applying high school students here and abroad and that properly prepares for the anticipated surge in enrolment. Doing all of this sets up post-secondary as a pillar of Alberta’s economic diversification effort.
The proposals in our Strengthening Post-Secondary For A Resilient Future paper attempt to restore some of the positive work underway by the NDP Government but also to make meaningful improvements beyond that. We recognize the work that was done was merely a start. We encourage each and every one of you to read the policy proposal careful and provide feedback.
If properly supported, Alberta's post-secondary schools can provide a world-class education and set the next generation of our province’s leaders up for success. - Rachel Notley
Summary of Proposals
Properly Funding the Post-Secondary System
- Improve funding to our post-secondaries and bring back stability to the system to create the spaces and opportunities we need
- Cancel the performance-based funding model
Supporting Alberta’s Economic Recovery Future and Resilience
- Work with post-secondaries to strengthen their ability to innovate and transform Alberta communities into hubs for economic innovation.
- Build an effective framework for applied research collaboration
- Consult with universities, researchers, and the federal government to improve frameworks for intellectual property (IP)
- Work with regional institutions to offer opportunities for local workers to upgrade existing skills and credentials to respond to changing workforce and local needs
- Establish a Future Leaders Council
- Require all students to develop digital skills
- Support Alberta students in finding valuable work experience
- Ensure that all Albertans are able to participate in post-secondary learning by implementing access to high-speed internet across the province.
- Support Alberta’s strong environment for apprenticeships
Access & Affordability
- Address the extreme tuition increases and revert back to capping tuition to inflation
- Examine the Student Aid system and other affordability factors to ensure all Albertans are able to afford and access a variety of post-secondary options.
- Ensure students can participate in post-secondary education regardless of ability, personal challenges and learning needs
Supporting and Attracting Staff
- Institute policies and recruitment initiatives that support quality instruction, including efforts to reduce precarious employment for instructors
- Providing opportunities for pure research and further support universities, polytechnics and colleges
- Implement and strengthen efforts of reconciliation in post-secondary schools
- Work with the University of Alberta and the Francophone community to provide sustainable, multi-year funding to Campus Saint Jean
- Improve the recognition of foreign credentials
- Recognize the vital role that arts, literature, and creative sectors play in the economy, and in the well-being of our communities.
- Continue to build an environment that promotes the mental health and well-being for staff and students
We can attract the brightest minds, we can inspire the next generation of big thinkers and innovators. Government has a role to play and it shouldn’t shy away from that, it should embrace it. - Advanced Education Critic David Eggen