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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2010

Poll Shows Canadians Value Higher Education

A new poll shows almost eight in 10 Canadians think a post-secondary education is more important than ever, with most citizens uneasy about its rising costs.

The Harris-Decima poll, commissioned by CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students, also shows most people think tuition fees should be frozen or lowered, while more than 50 per cent of respondents said governments should spend more on post-secondary education even if it means paying more income taxes; 27 per cent disagreed.

“Most Canadians understand very well the challenges facing universities and colleges and are prepared to pay more taxes if it will help get more students in the doors and improve the quality of education,” said CAUT associate executive director David Robinson.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents said they trust university and college teachers, and respect their views on post-secondary education policy more than university and college executives or governments.

“These findings provide evidence that academic staff have a great deal of standing with the public, and can have a positive influence on how the public views the major issues affecting the sector,” says Robinson.

When polled about whether conditions should be attached to fede­ral transfers for post-secondary education instead of letting provinces do as they please with the money, almost 70 per cent of Canadians overall said “yes.”

CAUT has long lobbied for a post-secondary education bill modeled on the Canada Health Act that would impose conditions on transfers to ensure they are spent in ways that enhance the accessibility and quality of university and college education.

Results are based on telephone interviews with 2,000 Canadian adults, conducted April 8–19, 2010. The margin of sampling error is 2.2 percentage points.