NS university cuts- all talk no action.
I have been keeping a close eye on media coverage around recent cuts to universities. I have worked at NS institutions and I have and still am a student. All people want to do is whine and gripe it seems (from all sides) and no one is offering solutions.
Maybe it is because most people don’t fully understand the issues. So briefly, (because they are complex and unique challenges on all sides for each of our 11 universities) is my take on the 3 major problems; inflated costs to offer and obtain education at the post-secondary level in NS, decreased resources to support, fund and offset the rising costs, and a lack of overall connectivity between perceived and actual benefits of being in the business of education at a provincial level.
So what can universities do to reduce operating expenses? In my opinion (I have worked for 3 different schools) I definitely think that the pieces of the pie have to be distributed more evenly, VP jobs can be eliminated in some areas and replaced by 2 or 3 professional roles that suffice more actual nit and grit work, and one less person in the photo opt of the next announcement. More varied incomes are more beneficial to local economies. Upgrades on heating and lighting can and will save on operation costs, and distance education allows for lower expenses to heat, clean, and upkeep a learning environment. While we don’t want to toss away all our maintenance staff shifts (cause their wages are the economies profits also), you don’t have to pay for heat, lights and cleaning for a classroom that is not used in this physical sense. Maybe everyone should go digital, for everything from learning, to marketing- imagine the money saved in a world where each school prints thousands of syllabus and view books. To save on international recruitment and instead of sending different people to the same places- tag team on international effort and stop wasting tax payers money (most of whom don’t actually know or care about the benefits of attracting students from aboard or about the economic impact to the province by the jobs that they create).
What can students do to reduce costs? Stop acting like a herd of sheep to the slaughter. Become vocal. Get active. Say; we’re not going take it, and mean it. Do something about this and not just a walk down town Halifax once a year on Student’s Day of action. You do realize that you actually pay for those fancy Student Union figure head jobs…make them earn their way, and not just sit in ivory towers spending your money on lunch and other luxuries not afford to general student populations. While I carry a hefty amount of personal debt for my education, I worked to offset costs, (saved by not partying every night of my life life away), and also apply for scholarships and bursaries to make the burden that much less. I have been a political activist to help remove barriers for Co-op students and single parents. I know what I am talking about here.
If students had jobs to begin when they graduated they would stay here. I have worked my butt off to stay in this province, and it has not been easy. No wonder people leave for better wages, better quality of life and better education and health care for their families…they are smart and educated and now they can do more with fewer struggles. We don’t even capture the statistics at a provincial level to determine who stays and who goes. We don’t even track graduate employment or funded Co-op placement work retention rates.
Some older school people think the same, (like the biggest chunk of our population), and don’t even care about recruiting skilled workers here now or later or how universities are the natural solution to this underlying problem…do they not want health care services when they cannot care for themselves I guess we won’t know till they get there. Get some PR going that brings these people into the-know, and out of the dark. Bring them to get them on board. Lovely tell your mother… she needs a bigger population to pay taxes and work in health carre (and lovely tell your your father too).
If you read this, potentially you give a crap. So spread the word- more action less talk. It’s costing us all money as we speak. Might as well put the effort to better use.