Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Practicality of Life as a Vulnerable Post Secondary Student

I ran into  Rebooter Carol Neuman yesterday.  She is the soul behind the Student Councils' Executive group who represent all non-university post-secondary students in Alberta.  She was quickly telling me about the serious hardships many students in Norquest and Bow Valley Colleges were facing due to a computer screw up at Alberta Employment and Immigration that has delayed support cheques getting out from government to marginalized and vulnerable people who are trying to upgrade their education.

The government funds they rely on to survive as students have been delayed due to some computer SNAFU.  It also seems to me that the system, both technological and human,  is too insensitive to the critical consequences of such screw ups on these students.  I was told many had to drop out of school because they could not continue because of the delay receiving in the life changing funding they are relying on.

This is an emergency for these people and I hope the powers that be understand this and don't just see it as some kind of technical computer glitch.  This has serious human consequences.  I understand that the Alberta government messed up on the processing of funding for these people.  This is obviously a life changing experience for many - but not in the way it is supposed to be changing their lives.

Personal debt levels are very high these days for everyday Albertans.  Debt concerns are to the point there is a general anxiety amongst many middle class Albertans over how sustainable their futures are.  I am told that many middle class people are just two pay cheques away from poverty.  Scary. Aspirations to better their standards of living are diminishing as they feel they are running harder and longer just to stay in the same on the treadmill.  Youth are even in worse shape.

Take that level of concern and add marginalization, poverty and vulnerability to the emotional mix and you get a toxic brew for folks trying to better themselves through education and upgrading.  When they get the courage and conviction to take on more education in order to become self-reliant and resilient  they sure don't need the kick in head of a funding fiasco.

I am told the bucks problem stops at Minister Thomas Lukaszuk's desk.  I know Thomas and believe he is all about doing the right thing.  This right thing is urgent as well as important.  I hope Minister Lukaszuk if fully and forcefully engaged in resolving this problem given the emergency it is for so many vulnerable Albertans who are just trying to better themselves.

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