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Students shortchanged by school funding: Report

By: Heather Campbell, for NorthernLife.ca

 | May 12, 2014 - 1:46 PM |
 The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) holds a town hall meeting May 15 to address what it says are key issues in post-secondary education. File photo.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) holds a town hall meeting May 15 to address what it says are key issues in post-secondary education. File photo.

OPSEU hosting town hall meeting on post-secondary future

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) holds a town hall meeting May 15 to address what it says are key issues in post-secondary education.

The event is free and includes panelists Kevin MacKay, professor of social sciences with Mohawk College; Anis Farah, president of the Laurentian University Faculty Association; Alastair Woods, chair of the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario; and John Closs, Laurentian University, Labour Studies.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Steelworkers Hall on Brady Street.

MacKay recently published "Report on Education in Ontario Colleges," a report that explores the future of post-secondary education in Ontario. It was written in response to recent mandates from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

MacKay said his report found a growing crisis at Ontario colleges.

“Ontario’s 24 colleges are attracting more and more students, but their importance is not reflected in the funding provided,” MacKay said. “In the 1980s, the provincial government provided 75 per cent of all college operating revenues. Now, it funds just 50 per cent.”

The town hall meeting will open the discussion about the long-term effects of chronic underfunding, privatization, under-staffing and increased student tuition and debt.

“Our colleges are training the workers who drive the economy. Ontario students deserve to receive quality education and be treated with respect,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a news release. “That includes proper funding of public post-secondary education, small class sizes and reasonable tuition levels. We’re talking about an investment that benefits the province as a whole.

“It’s time to make post-secondary education a priority.”

The evening will start with a reception and light supper between at 6 p.m., with the panel discussion following.

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