Universities matter greatly to future of Nova Scotia

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To the editor,

Now that a provincial election date has been set, what’s on the minds of voters?

Nova Scotians are likely concerned about jobs and the economy, access to health care, the quality of education, the outmigration of young people, declining rural communities, and, for many families, ensuring their children have access to high quality post-secondary education and ideally, a job when they graduate.

Universities are essential partners in helping Nova Scotia’s next government tackle these challenging issues.

In short, universities matter a great deal to Nova Scotia’s future.

Jobs and the Economy

Nova Scotia’s universities provide today’s students with the skills needed to successfully compete for the jobs being created in the province’s economic growth sectors:  aerospace, defence, information, communications and technology, financial services, ocean sciences and shipbuilding.

Universities are powerful economic engines in communities across the province, employing thousands in high quality jobs and purchasing millions of dollars of products and services from local businesses. Nova Scotia’s universities generate $840 million annually in export revenues, second only to Michelin. University education drives a stronger economy which provides a better standard of living for all Nova Scotians.

Health care

Nova Scotia’s universities annually graduate thousands of students who are educated and trained to serve communities across the province as doctors, nurses, nutritionists, physiotherapists, audiologists, gerontologists, occupational health and safety therapists, social workers, educators, researchers, counselors, pharmacists, fitness and recreation specialists and dietitians.

The province’s universities annually attract more than $26 million in health research funding from outside the province dedicated to the study of treatment, technology and the delivery of better health care for Nova Scotians.

Student Access

Having high quality universities located across the province (Church Point, Wolfville, Halifax, Truro, Antigonish and Sydney) increases access to higher education for young Nova Scotians and life-long learners. Proximity to universities is especially helpful to rural residents, the economically disadvantaged, the disabled and under-represented communities such as Aboriginals and African Nova Scotians.

Nova Scotia’s universities annually provide more than $38 million in scholarships, bursaries and on campus employment for students, helping make a university education as affordable as possible.

Talent attraction and retention

More than 23,000 young Nova Scotians attend the province’s universities.

The province’s universities annually attract more than 14,000 out of province Canadian students and nearly 6,000 international students; 25 per cent of whom will stay in Nova Scotia following their graduation.

Nova Scotia’s universities are talent magnets that produce future community, business, government and political leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs who reside and start families in communities across the province.

What all of this adds up to is that investing in universities helps everyone.

So, when talking to political candidates about the issues that concern you and your family, they should be reminded about the value of a high quality, accessible university system and what it means to Nova Scotians, their communities and the province’s economic prosperity and social development.

Peter Halpin

Executive Director, Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents

Organizations: Nova Scotia University

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Church Point, Wolfville Antigonish Sydney

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