Advanced Education Minister John Yap recently wrote to New Democrat leader Adrian Dix taking issue with advanced education critic Michelle Mungall's use of the word "dismal" when referring to the Liberal record on post-secondary education.
Minister Yap's assertion that reminding students and families of the Liberal record on post-secondary education is "negative and derogatory" is nothing but an attempt to distract from his government's failures.
And it's no wonder the Liberals are running scared from their record on post-secondary education. Here's a look at the facts:
- The Liberals' budget plan includes a $50 million cut to the advanced education budget over the next two years.
- Since the Liberals took power in 2001 tuition fees have more than doubled on average.
- The Liberals eliminated non-repayable grants for students in need.
- British Columbian students now graduate with an average of $27,000 in student debt – the highest debt load west of the Maritimes.
Earlier this year, in an unprecedented move, the presidents of all 25 public post-secondary institutions sent a letter to the Liberal government, outlining their concerns with the Liberals' plan for advanced education.
Similarly, post-secondary staff, students, and educators recently issued a letter reminding the Liberals that "the steady deterioration in real per student operating grants means that our institutions and their faculty face the inevitable struggle of “doing more with less”, a struggle that might be endurable for a year, but becomes damaging when it lasts a decade."
Far from doing an "injustice to all those who are working hard…to educate British Columbia's students," as Minister Yap put it, drawing attention to the Liberals' mismanagement of our post-secondary system is an acknowledgment of the work that staff, faculty and institutions have been doing to maintain our reputation for high quality education despite the Liberals' failures.
Quote from Michelle Mungall, New Democrat advanced education critic:
"Adrian Dix and B.C.'s New Democrats have a plan to make post-secondary education and trades training more accessible and affordable. Increasing access to education is a key part of our strategy to improve British Columbia's economy and reduce inequality."