Students have swarmed the streets protesting against the 75% increase in the tuition fee. If you do the math from 2007, the tuition will increase by 143% in 10 years. It’s as if the government can bully people into paying whatever they say, no matter how opposed people are and how unfair. Many others are saying that they don’t want to pick up the tab through what is already high taxes. They say an increase was overdue because of the lack of quality in education and inflation. The price index has gone higher, but not by 143%. Even though Quebec has the lowest tuition, it also has the highest taxes, so why would it make sense to raise the tuition on par with the rest of the provinces? Until the tuition increase, there was never any question of quality of educational when Quebec is still reputable for world class universities like McGill and Laval University. It sounds like to me that money is being mismanaged at the cost of both tax payers and students.
If universities raise the price, then it will become a place where the richest go, not necessarily the smartest & hardest working. That’s not fair for anybody.
The most logic I heard in the agreement is to establish a committee that would oversee university expenses. There needs to be an absolute fundamental change to stop universities from wasting a lot of money that they do now. This should be the central focus of blame in this crisis, but it isn’t. Everyone is making out this crisis as a student vs. tax payer issue when the real culprit is the university itself and the complacent government! We need to start looking at solutions that works for tax payers and students.
Here are my five suggestions to make universities financially fair for everyone:
1. Only four years of free university full-time. If you choose to do another degree, or if you fail and need an extra semester after four years, you have to pay the full price of university, which is the international student fees.
University has become a place for many people to roam from from one major to another. It is more common nowadays for someone to be a full time student until they are 30 without a completed degree. Many people are ‘finding themselves’ at the expense of tax payers. Currently, all university courses are subsidized, it doesn’t matter how many times you failed the class or how long you spent in university, all courses are always subsidized at the same price. It’s only nowadays we are hearing terms like, “professional student” when the only thing professional about it is getting away with freeloading. Taking in knowledge at the expense of taxpayers without making any meaningful contribution to society of that knowledge is like stealing. What’s the logic in having people work hard in a job they probably hate to pay taxes while others get to take an unlimited vacation in university?
I believe education is a right, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it can happen in a university setting. There is nothing wrong with lifelong learning, there are plenty of other alternatives other than universities. University is simply a place where you are formally recognized for your knowledge to enable you to get a job. It’s that piece of paper that is proof that you sat through eight semesters and listened to a professor and did the homework. Before you enter into a major, ask yourself, ‘Do I need this proof for a job I want?’ If not, then learn outside, go to the library, use the internet, you can still listen to a profesors lecture for free in class, or online. If you have an interest in acadmic learning, attend seminars, take a free course on khan academy, attend doc screenings, read, join a book club, volunteer at an art gallery, travel, subscribe to an independant journal, read and write to the letter to the editor, or be keen and contribute an article yourself. You can email a professor with any question, and they are more than likely to get back to you right away. You don’t need to be shy about it. Professors don’t work for the universities, they work for the public, the tax payer! Email him/her and ask for the course outline of the course you are interested in, and he/she is most likely to give it to you so you can see what kind of material a certain major is learning. Education doesn’t happen in four walls. There are plenty of ways to be involved with acadmia without blowing a fortune in university.
If you are 100% sure about a degree you want to do that will allow you to qualify for a career you want, then go to university. Don’t be indecisive and make someone else pay for it. As the saying goes, ‘Indecision is worse than making a wrong decision’.
2. Eliminate administration staff. It baffles me that in this internet age and with the advancements in computers, we still have to go to a crowded student office to get things done by an administration staff who always demand more money and benefits. Any university student will tell you that they had at least one experience with getting incorrect information from admin that screwed them over. It’s human error. We have the technology now to make a program that is full proof of any problems, we can do all administrative tasks there. And what about administrative jobs? Take that money and invest it in maintaining the price of low tuition and use the difference to fund research positions. These are the meaningful jobs that are always the first to get cut. Everyone knows at least of one person who is un(der)employed after getting a university degree. Instead of offering newly grads a meanial task at reception, we should make use of the knowledge they required with research positions that will enhance our society, rewarding those tax payers who susbdized the degree!
3. Universities should be more selective & accept less students. There’s accessibility, then there’s just anybody, particularly with B.A. degrees that always have the lowest requirements. Anyone can enroll with a mediocre C average. Anyone can graduate with a C average (like George Bush). This devalues the degree. It isn’t fair for those who strived for earned higher grades and put in the same boat as those who didn’t. University degrees aren’t impressive as they were 30 years ago because anyone can have one. University is becoming a place where only the people who want to pay for it go, not necessarily the people who are the smartest.
4. Eliminate advertising budget. If your university is a place worth going to, an accomplished alumini should be your only walkng billboard. The right candidate for a certain university will go based on academic merit, alumini and professors. What does it say about a prospective student when they chose a university because they saw an ad at the Bell Center during a hockey game?
5. Eliminate text book fees. This isn’t in the tution, but its that extra fee that all students dread. All text books should be available for e-reading at a lower cost. Text books are so primitive. They are heavy and waste so much paper. Text books are only good for a few years before they have to be replaced again with a new edition.
You can call these ideas radical or unrealistic, but these are the only solutions to make the best investment in our future, to enable our hardest working and smartest students with an education and tools that will make a better world for everybody.