For such a lengthy debate on jobs and the economy, all of the Ontario party leaders missed a huge driver of growth for both fields: postsecondary education.
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is disappointed that postsecondary education wasn’t given any time in tonight’s debate despite the sector’s huge economic impact.
“I’m absolutely baffled that Ontario party leaders continue to ignore such an important sector,”said Kate Lawson, president of OCUFA and professor at the University of Waterloo. “To argue about jobs and the economy makes sense. Ignoring a sector that is directly tied to both doesn’t.”
Training, colleges and universities account for $7.3 billion in government expenditure every year. Universities alone enrol nearly 450,000 students and employ more than 17,000 professors and academic librarians.
By ignoring postsecondary education throughout the election, the party leaders are neglecting to respond to key issues in the sector. Ontario currently has the lowest per-student funding and the highest student-faculty ratio in the country.
OCUFA is calling for renewed public investment in higher education. Increased funding is needed to bring per-student funding in line with the national average and to hire additional full-time faculty members to help reduce class sizes, and increase opportunities for student-faculty interaction –important indicators of a high quality university education.