By Вen Li
Student leaders are frustrated with the Alberta government’s latest survey, but not with the survey itself.
Without citing specific examples, Students’ Union Vice-President External Mike Bosch said media coverage of the “It’s Your Future” survey has become too political.
“It’s been in the paper and on the news who criticize the Tories spending tax dollars to create their next election platform,” Bosch said. “It would be nice if the coverage was a bit more issue-focused, not government focused.”
The survey, aimed at finding out what Albertans want to do with the province’s multi-billion dollar surplus, has received minimal coverage in local media, most of it neutral. According to our search of the ProQuest on-line database of Canadian news articles, about half of the stories about the survey appearing in the Calgary Herald and none appearing in the National Post contain explicitly political statements, and all articles mention at least a few major points from the survey.
Bosch is also concerned that the survey acknowledges the need for post-secondary education, but does not explicitly ask about investing in post-secondary education. Only one question mentions education, asking respondents to give a priority to “Provide an outstanding education system”.
“My major issue with the survey is the phrase: ‘The future of Alberta’s economy depends on having one of the best educated and highly skilled workforces in the world. What more needs to be done to make sure Alberta has an outstanding, leading edge education system?’ How do you get there with the seventh-best post-secondary education system in Canada?”
Bosch’s efforts to provide hard-copy surveys to U of C students directly, so that they could respond to the survey away from their homes, have met with failure. He claims that the Alberta government refused to provide him with surveys, and will therefore set up computers in MacEwan Student Centre so that students can complete it on-line. Students have until September 24 to complete the survey.
Representatives from Alberta’s Finance Communications, the department responsible for the survey, could not be reached for comment.