Education Minister Peter Fassbender apologizes to Anjali Vyas, says education report funding followed policy

Anjali Vyas
Anjali Vyas Photo courtesy CBC
FOLLOWING a vicious attack on South Asian student Anjali Vyas, who received government funding worth $16,000 for research on Finland’s education system, Education Minister Peter Fassbender on Thursday apologized to her on behalf of the Education Ministry of Education.

Fassbender said: “I want to apologize to Ms. Vyas for the significant impact this matter has had on her and her family. Through no fault of her own, a very talented and dedicated young woman has been subjected to unfair allegations that her work was of no value or the manner in which she pursued it was inappropriate.”

Fassbender noted: “I appreciate the questions about the Ministry of Education’s decision to support Ms. Anjali Vyas’ research project comparing teacher training programs in Finland and British Columbia.
“Particularly in a period of fiscal restraint, government must carefully manage and make best use of every available tax dollar.

“That is why I asked my deputy minister to review this matter. That review confirmed that the financial commitments were made in keeping with relevant policy. The review also makes recommendations to further strengthen ministry procedures, which will be implemented immediately.

“This was an unusual set of circumstances and the ministry’s intent was to support an existing research project that had been initiated by a talented and motivated young person. Teacher training is an important matter that does bear greater scrutiny and it is imperative that the ministry continue to seek out the perspectives of students and young people on how to improve our education system.

“However, in this case, I believe the ministry could have pursued these important objectives in a more cost effective manner. It is a reminder that we must remain prudent with tax dollars as we continue our efforts to improve the education system.”

The CBC reported that documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayer`s Federation showed that Vyas delivered her final, 14-page report last September, after spending five months at the University of Victoria and five months at the University of Helsinki.

Vyas defended the assignment in a video sent to CBC. She said: “This project was by no means the result of a whim. It was the result of much hard work and sacrifice. It is simply misleading to say that the $16,000 all went towards funding a teenager’s trip to Finland. This was not a vacation. I was working every single day to complete this project.”