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Province's political parties given tough grades on education

Students are used to bracing for report cards this time of year, but itwas Nova Scotia’s political parties finding out their grades Monday.

Students are used to bracing for report cards this time of year, but it was Nova Scotia’s political parties finding out their grades Monday.

The Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations released their analysis of each party’s post-secondary education platform at a news conference at Dalhousie University. The ANSSA, which represents more than 35,000 students at five Nova Scotia universities, gave the four parties marks between A and F, according to how well their platforms line up with the Alliance’s policy recommendations.

The best grade (B-) went to the Liberals for having “the most comprehensive and detailed vision” of all the parties, according to an ANSSA press release.

“(The Liberals) were the only party to accept our recommendations to conduct a comprehensive review of post-secondary education, and we applaud them,” Mark Coffin, ANSSA’s executive director, said to the media.

The NDP came in second with a C. According to the Alliance, their promises include keeping the current government’s commitments to reduce tuition and spend on infrastructure, as well as giving up to $15,000 in tax credits to university students who stay in Nova Scotia.

“We don’t think this is necessarily a responsible use of funds,” Coffin said. “The (students) that can’t afford (university) now won’t be able to afford it $15,000 and four years down the road.”

The Tories were next with a C-. The ANSSA say the Tory platform includes pledges to keep freezing tuition fees, to spend $114 million on campus infrastructure work, and to give tax credits to graduates that stay in the province. Coffin said these promises fall short of what the Alliance wants and what other parties are pledging.

The lowest mark (D) went to the Green Party as the Alliance said the party’s single-planked platform for education “fails to make any tangible commitments.”

 
 
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