The UBC Graduate Student Society welcomes the recommendations made by the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to the BC Legislature in preparation for the 2021 BC Budget.
The Committee’s Report on the Budget 2021 Consultation includes key recommendations that will benefit graduate students, including a multi-year extension to the BC Graduate Scholarship and expanded eligibility to include graduate students in non-STEM disciplines.
Alireza Kamyabi, Vice-President External Relations at the UBC Graduate Student Society comments.
“I’m excited to see recommendations that support grad students across the Province. Extending the BC Graduate Scholarship is something that the Society has been pushing for, for several years and I’m particularly pleased that the proposal includes extending the funding to students outside STEM disciplines.
This is a time when many students are struggling economically because of the pandemic. Investing in BC’s advanced education sector is an excellent way to support our economic recovery that will pay for itself over time.
Two other recommendations that I think will benefit graduate students in the longer term, are the creation of a provincial international student education strategy, in consultation with students, post-secondary institutions and other key stakeholders, and addressing financial barriers related to the direct and indirect costs of education, including child care and transportation.
I know that international students and students with dependents have distinct needs and the Society will be consulting with grad students across campus to make sure these needs are met as the Province develops these new plans.
I believe that if these recommendations are implemented, they will help enhance graduate education in BC by making it more financially accessible and inclusive, something the GSS supports wholeheartedly.”
The full list of budget recommendations relating to Advanced Education are:
- Provide stable, multi-year funding for community literacy across BC.
- Increase resources to adult education to provide a broader range of course offerings and ensure equity in the funding of adult students and school-age students.
- Invest in upgrading existing post-secondary infrastructure, including encouraging and leveraging opportunities to expand satellite campuses in rural, remote and underserved communities.
- Support post-secondary institutions in advancing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by ensuring post-secondary education is accessible to Indigenous learners and honours and recognizes Indigenous culture.
- Create a provincial international student education strategy, in consultation with students, post-secondary institutions and other key stakeholders, which examines the business model, the cultural, academic and economic integration of international students, and intended goals and outcomes of post-secondary education.
- Provide sufficient support to post-secondary institutions for teaching and learning tools, infrastructure and technology, and training to facilitate professional development for the online delivery of courses.
- Explore mechanisms, such as allowing the use of accumulated surpluses, to provide post-secondary institutions with short-term flexibility to navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic.
- Invest in post-secondary education and expanding the number of seats available to students as a means to facilitate economic recovery and address immediate and projected gaps in the labour market, including ensuring local training and reskilling opportunities and reducing barriers for underrepresented groups.
- Provide flexible reskilling and upskilling opportunities in online and in-person formats with a lens to equity, reconciliation and accessibility, and recognize skills acquired through prior and experiential learning, to support workers displaced due to automation, shifts to digital technology and the pandemic, including promoting and expanding technology and trades-related training and careers.
- Provide a multi-year extension to the BC Graduate Scholarship and expand its eligibility to graduate students in non-STEM disciplines.
- Facilitate access to education by addressing financial barriers related to the direct and indirect costs of education, including child care and transportation.