Students slip down the slope

By Stephanie Chan

As the public slip-slides the night away, they’ll learn how post-secondary education is in danger of doing the same.

The Post-Secondary Education on a Slippery Slope, held at Canada Olympic Park on Sun., Feb. 10, involves free skiing and snowboarding from 6 to 9 p.m. and is open to everyone in the Calgary community.

"We want to inform the public, present facts and dispose of myth surrounding post-secondary education financial issues," explained Oliver Bladek, U of C Students’ Union Vice-President External. Several groups, including the SU, the Graduate Students’ Association and The U of C Faculty Association are coordinating the event. Organizations from Mount Royal College and the Alberta College of Art and Design are also involved.

Specific attention will be paid to the high cost of tuition and growing student debt.

"Many members of the public and government officials that I’ve talked to are surprised at how high tuition is," said Bladek. "Some of the statistics we have are quite frightening. Students are leaving school with an average of $18, 000 in debt."

The U of C recently approved a 3.7 per cent increase in tuition that will take effect in Sept. 2002, making the cost of a 10-course year $4, 546.50 including mandatory fees. Bladek added that insufficient government funding contributes to not only increased tuition, but also to a decrease in enrolment as more students are unable to afford the price tag of a degree or diploma.

The event is particularly aimed at high school students.

"They don’t know the issues because they’re too caught up in their studies and the teachers’ strike," explained Bladek. "This can help them plan [for their post-secondary careers]."

High school and university students alike can expect an evening of fun. Along with free skiing and snowboarding, there will also be a student performance stage with a DJ and student band. After 9 p.m. entertainment will continue in the lodge, where participants can relax until midnight.

Bladek encouraged everyone to get informed about issues surrounding post-secondary education in Calgary.

"We would like people to draw their own conclusions after they get the information," he said. "They can write or call their MLAs, or even run for public office to improve the situation."