Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides has announced Alberta’s 10-year plan for advanced education, saying that the plan will make the province’s post-secondary institutions more responsive to market demands. The plan’s goal is to develop a strategy that will better utilize students’ talents by granting undergraduates access to more “work-integrated learning” opportunities. The Alberta government wants to develop a strategy to measure employment-related skills in students.
Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides stated:
“Our system will be highly responsive to labour market needs, allowing our programs, services and policies to keep pace with the changing needs of industry and economy.”
Rowan Ley, chair of the Council of Alberta University Students, added:
“Students are cautiously optimistic that the government chose not to make radical, destabilizing changes in a time when budget cuts have already created enormous stress.”
Ley said supports the government’s idea to provide more financial grants that could also help alleviate some financial pressures brought on by recent tuition hikes.
Ricardo Acuna, president of the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta, also commented:
“They’re trying to reinvent or recreate post-secondary education at the same time as they’re in the process of cutting $400 million of funding from post-secondary education. It seems like a really mixed message to speak about this glorious future for advanced education while decimating its ability to actually fulfill its mandate.”
For now, the students have been pleased with the announced changes, but it remains to be seen how the government will implement this new plan in practice.