The NDP government of British Columbia is providing a big financial boost for the province's colleges and universities, increasing funding by more than 9 per cent.
The funding announcement was made in last month's provincial budget which unveiled $40 million to fund more than 5,000 new student spaces and a commitment to invest $505 million to build and improve new schools, colleges and institutes. The new funding was applauded by college and university teachers.
Maureen Shaw, President of the College Institute Educators' Association of BC, said she was pleased to see $20 million budgeted to compensate post-secondary education institutions for the recently announced five per cent reduction in tuition fees.
Shaw said educators will be working with government and institutions to ensure the increase in funding for post-secondary education institutions assists in keeping qualified faculty and attracting new faculty. She noted that the college and institute system could see between one-third and one-half of faculty members retire over the next decade — presenting a challenge for the system.
"We expect the government will also recognize that improved compensation will be needed to improve faculty working conditions and to ensure competitive salaries and benefits," Shaw said.
The province's university professors also commended the government's increased investment in post-secondary education.
"These funding increases are necessary if BC's universities are to continue to provide high-quality education for British Columbians," said Darwyn Coxson, president of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia. "Subsequent budgets must continue to close the funding gap, increase educational opportunity, and support the world-class research conducted at our universities."
The budget also provides a one-time payment of $23 million to assist universities in meeting the increased costs of research.