Manitoba universities and colleges will receive a share of $25.6 million from the provincial government to help them adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province has approved 37 programming changes at the institutions focusing on several areas including health, technology and business.
The University of Manitoba is receiving about $14.5 million from the fund to help it respond to “the challenges and opportunities that have come from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Among the others, Brandon University is receiving $1.14 million, the University of Winnipeg $2.8 million, Red River College $4.6 million, and Canadian Mennonite University $45,000.
“A strong and responsive post-secondary education system is essential in Manitoba’s economic recovery and these investments in post-secondary institutions will ensure our universities and colleges will continue to play a critical role in protecting Manitoba’s future,” said provincial economic development and training minister Ralph Eichler in a statement Monday.
“We are directly funding post-secondary priorities that align with our common goals and help us recover faster from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Doug Lauvstad, president of the University College of the North, which received about $1.3 million in funding, said in a statement “like all post-secondary institutions, UCN has had to radically shift how we deliver service to students, as well as how we respond to the changing labour market.
“This transitional support fund will help to ensure our programs and services are responsive to students and aligned with the needs of the economy.”
The funding was announced last May in the wake of the provincial government slashing millions of dollars in funding from universities and colleges to help pay for the province’s front-line response for the novel coronavirus. The province had also asked Crown corporations, school divisions, and other publicly funded areas to come up with savings as well.
The government’s one-time transitional support fund for post-secondary institutions was the equivalent of what the schools had trimmed in staffing and operations.
At the time, Eichler said “this fund will support a new way forward to achieve success in a new and unknown labour market landscape.”
But the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations said it was concerned the province was cutting funding and taking greater control of post-secondary programming.
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