Gov’t must not interfere with post-secondary ed


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This article was published 31/05/2021 (738 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Post-secondary education is about preparing people for the future. Whether you’re heading to college straight out of high school or going back to university later in life to pursue new opportunities, we know advanced learning means many things — training for a career for sure, but it also helps us to be engaged citizens and active participants in our great province.

Many families in Fort Rouge understand the world is changing and that with the increasing influence of technology some of the most important skills we can learn in post-secondary are collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and people skills. Computers, robots and algorithms may replace some tasks we currently do but they aren’t going to replace those uniquely human pursuits anytime soon.

It seems to me, if you want a post-secondary system that helps prepare Manitobans for the future, it needs to blend an understanding of the technical know-how to excel in our tech-enabled world with interpersonal talents and original thinking. Our future will be led by folks who studied the humanities and then became red seal tradespeople, who learned a new language and then teach themselves how to code, who can deliver a rousing speech and then help diagnose a network problem in their workplace.

This blend of technical and creative skills is what I encourage my own kids and other young people I speak with to pursue.

That’s why it’s so disappointing that the Pallister government is moving in the complete opposite direction. The Progressive Conservatives passed Bill 33, a new law which gives the education minister the unprecedented ability to interfere in post-secondary institutions and raise tuition fees. In a parallel to Bill 64 (the PCs’ K-12 education bill), Bill 33 takes power away from students and faculty and gives the minister more authority over what happens in classrooms.

 This will lead to more cuts to our post-secondary institutions and to financial support for students. As many university faculty have pointed out, the bill also gives the minister discretion to raise fees on a course-by-course basis. That’s just wrong.

It means the Pallister government could decide at a political level which post-secondary programs it likes and which it doesn’t, and then set tuition fees higher for the programs it doesn’t want many students to sign up for.

We’ve seen what the PCs prioritize — whether it’s their five-cent minimum wage increase or catering to big out-of-province businesses — they view workers as secondary to profit, not the critical thinking, creative, passionate people we all want our kids and fellow Manitobans to be. They will set tuition accordingly.

So much for academic freedom, so much for student choice, and so much for an education system that prepares young Manitobans for the future they will live in.

If you disagree with the PCs plans to raise tuition and interfere in post-secondary education, contact my office at 204-615-1922 or send an email to me at

Wab Kinew

Wab Kinew
Fort Rouge constituency report

Wab Kinew is the NDP MLA for Fort Rouge and leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party.

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