N.S. hopes to lure university students needed to fill 56,000 new jobs

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia is hoping to lure more students to its universities, then have them stay in the province after graduating with the promise of thousands of new jobs.
Bill Estabrooks, who represented Premier Darrell Dexter at a new Come to Life campaign launch Monday, told a crowd of students, alumni and instructors that the province needs educated workers to attract businesses.
"We desperately need that investment," he said. "And we need smart, well-educated workers to fill the jobs those businesses create."
Estabrooks said there will be 56,000 jobs in the province in the next five years as a result of new employer demands, retiring workers and government programs.
The province's campaign, which involves all its universities and its community college system, is attempting to promote Nova Scotia to students and their parents across the country.
Estabrooks said there's stiff competition between universities in other provinces so people need to know why it's advantageous to study on the East Coast, where they can choose between rural and urban settings.
"Small class sizes, approachable faculty, established co-op programs and world-class research - these all combine to give Nova Scotia a competitive edge," he said. "Nova Scotia has much to be proud of."
More than 16,000 students from other provinces and 4,000 from over 100 other countries attend universities in the province, Estabrooks said.
He said that average tuition rates in the province have dropped for the second year in a row, by 3.1 per cent.
But some students say they are still among the highest in the country and remain not very affordable to many people.
Mark Coffin, director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, said the province's new campaign is admirable but further measures are needed after two decades of having, until recently, the highest tuition in the country. It now averages about $5,900 per student.
"That's the missing link here," Coffin said of the promotional campaign. "It really needs to be matched by some serious policy changes if the government is really serious about higher education issues."
He'd like to see more grants for students needing financial help like there are for graduate students in other provinces.
"Access is still a huge issue and affordability is still a huge issue and the funding of universities is still a major issue that we haven't addressed yet," he said.
Liberal education critic Kelly Regan said universities in the province remain underfunded compared with other institutions across the country.
"We need to keep in mind this is also Canada's university student debt capital," she said. "And our students are bearing a disproportionate amount of the cost of their education compared to other provinces."

Organizations: Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, East Coast, Canada

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Recent comments

  • andrew
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Good luck with this venture..... Anyone with a degree the first thing they do is leave Nova Scotia. Offer a better salary and you might fill half of what your looking for !!!!