Liberal underfunding leaves college students scrambling
November 1, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – While students rallied outside the legislature on Wednesday, inside NDP MPP Peggy Sattler was pushing the Wynne government to stop underfunding post-secondary institutions, getting to the root of the strike.
“It seems clear to everyone but the government that provincial underfunding of the college system is the root cause of this strike. Ontario provides the lowest per-student funding of any province,” explained Sattler this morning. “To reduce payroll costs, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of contract instructors, who now make up as much as 80 per cent of all college faculty.”
Sattler, the MPP for London West, joined students rallying outside the legislature in the morning, where students voiced their eagerness to return to classrooms, and concerns about the ongoing dispute.
“The College Student Alliance and students across Ontario … want to get back to their classrooms. While a return to the table is good, it is not a settlement. Students remain concerned that they will have to go deeper into debt to complete their education,” said Sattler.
“Even if the semester is not lost, students with special needs say they won’t be able to manage a condensed program and will have to stay another year. Deadlines to write certification exams could still be missed. Programs could still be cancelled.”
Students are equally concerned about the working conditions faced by teachers. As one Fanshawe college student told Sattler, “I am a student retraining to avoid precarious employment. My profs deserve better than four-month contracts, as do I.”
Sattler echoed the issues raised by students, accusing the Wynne Liberals of failing both students and faculty through years of inadequate funding.
“Will this Liberal government ensure that colleges have the financial resources necessary to support more full-time, stable faculty jobs and protect high-quality education for students?” she asked.