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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2000

Universities Are 'Crumbling' Manley Admits

Former Industry Minister John Manley says the biggest challenge now facing the federal government is how to rebuild a "crumbling" post-secondary education system.

In an interview with the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen just before the federal election, Manley hinted that his government must develop a national education strategy to help "renew and support" the country's deteriorating universities and colleges.

"This century is going to be about knowledge and acquiring and using information, and that means to me that governments just can't spend too much on education," Manley said.

"We need to find a way for the federal side to sustain the post-secondary system."

He added that Canada's education system faces as big a crisis as health care, but that Ottawa has had difficulty in developing a strategy for education because Canada remains the only industrialized nation that doesn't have a national department responsible for education and training.

CAUT President Tom Booth said he was encouraged by Manley's remarks but remains cautious about the government's plans for education.

"The current way Ottawa provides funding to the provinces is full of holes since there is no accountability over how the money is spent," Booth said. "Until they address that issue, there's no real long term solution."

Booth noted that earlier this year CAUT wrote to the Prime Minister recommending that all federal education and training programs and agencies be consolidated into one ministry.