As many of you know, the education of our children has always been one of my top priorities, which is why I would like to spend some time unpacking a new outcomes-based post-secondary funding approach that will increase transparency and accountability and help build a modern and diverse workforce for the future.
Under the new funding model, a portion of government funding to colleges, universities and polytechnics will be based on achieving key performance measures. Performance measures will encourage institutions to improve services, increase efficiencies and create opportunities for Albertans through strong labour market outcomes and innovative programs and research. As the Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, points out:
“This is a new and completely transformative funding model for our universities, colleges and polytechnics. Our new approach will help ensure students are set up for success by encouraging institutions to produce job-ready graduates. Students make a significant investment in their post-secondary education, and it is essential we do everything possible to give them a rewarding career at the end of their studies. By shifting the focus to performance, we will ensure taxpayer dollars are being used in the most responsible way possible.”
In addition to tying public investment to results, government is also transforming its relationship with post-secondary institutions by negotiating three-year funding agreements. Investment management agreements will include specific performance targets for each institution. They will also specify the government funding each institution will receive if they meet their performance targets. Three-year terms will help institutions plan for the future and build on their record of excellence.
The amount of funding tied to performance outcomes will begin at 15 per cent of operational funding for 2020-21 and gradually increase to a maximum of 40 per cent by 2022-23. A small number of performance measures will be introduced for the 2020-21 academic year, and more measures will be gradually introduced over the next three years to a total of about 15.
Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.