Sunday, 20 October 2019
Education Media release

Media release: Lack of provincial funding for universities in NS affects teaching and research

The following media release is issued jointly by the Dalhousie Faculty Association and the Dalhousie Student Union.

Lack of Provincial Funding for Universities in Nova Scotia affects teaching and research

For immediate release

Halifax, NS, September 24, 2019:  The continued lack of provincial government funding for Nova Scotia’s universities is affecting Dalhousie University’s ability to remain a world-class place of teaching and research.

“Faculty and students can’t keep doing more with less,” says Dr. Julia Wright, DFA President. “We’re committed to helping Nova Scotia keep its historic place on the map as a centre of learning, and to Dalhousie’s reputation as a leading research university, but inadequate funding is a serious obstacle. We have world-class faculty and students, but it’s hard to excel when provincial support for higher education falls far short of the national average.”

The Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) and Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) share province-wide disappointment in the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between university presidents and the government of Nova Scotia. The MOU, released September 13, 2019, announces a mere 1 per cent increase in funding for universities in Nova Scotia.

“Students are fed up with empty promises by the government” says Hasan Sinan, DSU VP Academic and External. “In order to invest in students, we need to eliminate tuition fees. While providing specific funding for mental health and gender-based violence prevention seems like a step in the right direction, it’s definitely not enough. These institutions have been functioning without adequate support in these areas for a long time, and it’s going to take more than the promised money to tackle these issues.”

In 2010, the provincial government grant for universities in Nova Scotia was $349M.  That number has only increased to $365M this year – an increase of less than 5 per cent over a decade, and far less than the rate of inflation.  

In 2011, Dalhousie University was ranked 193rd in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.  Its ranking dropped below 200 in 2012, and by 2017 had dropped below 250.  According to Dalhousie’s financial reports, provincial government funding dropped from more than 60 per cent of Dalhousie’s operating budget in 2010-11 to below 52 per cent by 2017-18.  There is a correlation here we cannot ignore. And now, with this most recent MOU, that percentage continues to fall.

Students are in larger classes, with fewer supports, and ever higher tuition. It’s becoming harder to maintain the academic programs that Nova Scotia needs. According to Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia is falling short of the national average for federal research funding too as faculty have less time for research or go elsewhere. This is not the way forward for our province.

“Low provincial funding for higher education is creating problems, not solving them,” notes Dr. Wright. “Let universities get back to academic work so they can help Nova Scotia move forward.”

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For more information:

Catherine Wall, DFA Communication Officer: Catherine.Wall@dal.ca

Jaida Regan, DSU Communications Coordinator: dsucomm@dal.ca

The Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) is the certified bargaining agent for approximately 1,000 professors, instructors, librarians and professional counsellors at Dalhousie.  As a volunteer-based organization, we advocate for the rights of our members and work to protect and advance the academic integrity of the university.

The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) is the collective student voice on campus. With over 18,500 members the DSU advocates for student rights and builds community on campus through events and by supporting nearly 400 societies.

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