By Mary Chan
Key Performance Indicators and infrastructure renewal for the University of Calgary were among the 50 recommendations in the Alberta Auditor General’s annual report on the provincial government, released on Tues., Oct. 5.
In the report, Auditor General Peter Valentine made nine recommendations for the now-defunct Department of Advanced Education and Career Development, one of which concerned KPIs, money universities receive based on statistics such as increased enrolment.
"Some survey results are unreliable and a number of complications, processing and inputing errors remain undetected," read the report.
"I think that the Auditor General was correct in assessing that KPIs aren’t as uniform as the government would like to believe," said U of C Students’ Union President Rob South. "I think it’s time for the government to consider: is the system more accountable to the government or are they simply micro-managing the post-secondary education system to its detriment and tying it up in needless bureaucratic work?"
U of C Associate Vice-president Finance Richard Roberts encouraged the review, especially in light of a proposed expansion to the KPI system.
"We would support cleaning that up before expanding," he said. "Do it well the first time and add other things once that’s been accomplished."
Alberta Learning is still in the preliminary stages of examining the recommendations.
"It’s premature to say how they will impact on the department, but certainly we take what the Auditor General says seriously," said Alberta Learning Spokesperson Ed Greenberg. "We’re taking a look at all the recommendations he’s made comments on that involve the Department of Learning."
The report also recommended the U of C review its budgeting process so they can set aside more money for infrastructure maintenance.
"Essentially what it’s saying is that the university hasn’t got enough to do the repairs and replace equipment being used," said Alberta Liberal Advanced Education Critic Don Massey. "It’s getting to the point where the classrooms and equipment will not support the student body. It puts the university at risk of not being able to deliver the kinds of programs a top notch university should be delivering."
According to Roberts, the U of C will consider this next year.
"We’ll be taking a look at what the strategy will be in the next budget process," he said.
Robert felt this recommendation highlighted the lack of funding for post-secondary institutions.
"The best answer for that is additional funding," said Roberts. "That would certainly solve the issue."
"The point has to be made that all the institutions, including the U of C, are playing catch up from all those massive cuts," said Massey. "They’ve been struggling to try and accommodate the lack of resources."
The complete Auditor General’s report is available at: <<www.oag.ca>>.