Overwhelming majority of Canadians say higher education is more important than ever: Poll

Nearly 8 in 10 Canadians believe getting a university or college education is more important than ever, but most say it’s also getting more difficult to pursue post-secondary studies because of rising costs.

According to a Harris-Decima poll conducted for CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students in April, a strong majority think tuition fees should be frozen or lowered, and just over half of those surveyed said governments should spend more on post-secondary education even if it means paying higher income taxes, compared to 27% of respondents who 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’s associate executive director, David Robinson.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians say they have trust in university and college teachers, and respect their views on post-secondary education policy more than university presidents or governments.

”University and college 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,” Robinson notes.

The poll also found that an overwhelming number of respondents in all provinces said they believe conditions should be attached to federal transfers for post-secondary education instead of letting provinces do as they please with the money.

CAUT has long lobbied for a Post-secondary Education Act modelled on the Canada Health Act that would attach conditions on transfers to ensure federal money is spent in ways that enhance the accessibility and quality of university and college education.

The poll was conducted between April 8 and 19, 2010, and included a representative sample of 2,000 adult Canadians. Results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2%, 19 times out of 20.

A power point summary of the poll results is available here

http://www.caut.ca/uploads/Decima_Spring_2010.pdf

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