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Yamamoto as advanced ed minister gets praise from faculty

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators has given cautious approval to the appointment of Naomi Yamamoto as Minister of Advanced Education in Premier Christy Clark's new cabinet.

In a news release, FPSE praised Clark's decision to reunite the ministry, which last year was divided under two ministers. "Fortunately, with today's announcement of a new Cabinet, it appears that consolidation rather than fragmentation is the guiding principle. That will be good news for our institutions and our members."

The FPSE release offered some praise to Yamamoto:

The new Minister, Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, has had some experience in previous Cabinets as a Minister of State. The change to a senior Cabinet portfolio will be a major step forward and FPSE plans to meet with the Minister as soon as possible to ensure that we begin to build a constructive relationship that can address some of the system-wide issues that we want to see her government address.

However, FPSE was unhappy about the transfer of one department to another ministry:

We are disappointed, however, to see that responsibility for the Industry Training Authority (ITA) has been moved to the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. The ITA relies on public post-secondary institutions to deliver over 90% of trades training programs in BC. When the ITA was previously reporting to a non-post-secondary education Minister -- that was the case from 2003 to 2008 -- there were disconnects between ITA and our public institutions.

A report by the Auditor General's Office had been critical of the ITA and had recommended that it report to the Minister of Advanced Education. That change was made in June 2008. Today’s announcement reverses that and we will be meeting with the Minister in charge of ITA, Hon. Pat Bell, to detail our concerns.

The release said nothing about the ongoing faculty strike at Vancouver Island University and the likelihood of a similar strike at Langara College.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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