All Posts Tagged With: "free tuition"
Protest proves Quebec tuition debate is far from over
Sure enough, a young man in front of me turned around, his face contorted, hands clasped over his ears. Yes, that was a stun grenade.
Thousands of protesting students, led by the radical Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), clashed with cops in the east end of Montreal and got pepper spray, tear gas and stun grenades in return on Tuesday afternoon following Quebec’s big education summit.
Across town at the summit, the collegial attitude of the moderate Fédération Etudiante Universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) student factions was greeted with handshaking and the imposition of a year three per cent tuition hike.
The protesting students in the east end chanted, “Parti Quebecois: Parti Bourgeoise!” They denounced erstwhile student leader cum PQ golden boy Léo Bureau-Blouin who ditched FECQ* for a seat in the National Assembly. They mocked former ally, now premier, Pauline Marois. They demanded the abolition of tuition fees.
Students need to be able to test out university
The worst-kept secret in academia is that students come to university with inadequate intellectual preparation. They don’t know the basics. They don’t know how to write. They’re not prepared for how much work it’s going to be.
So when professors like me see studies like this one which suggests that one of the main reasons for students dropping out is a lack of preparedness, well, let’s just say we’re not shocked. It’s nice to have the hard data, but still.
The real question is: what can be done? One answer might be to get secondary schools to do a better job of preparing students for university in the first place. Many of my students regularly report that their high school English classes, for instance, are not just lacking in challenge—they’re a joke.
But students shouldn’t get too excited yet
If elected later this year, the Alberta Liberals say they would begin eliminating post-secondary tuition and start forgiving up to a $1,000 per year in student loans for working graduates.
Liberal leader Raj Sherman unveiled the platform on Monday in Edmonton ahead of an election that’s expected to be called this spring.
The Liberals would pay for their tuition elimination, forgiven student loans and other new spending with $1.5-billion in tax hikes on corporations and on the wealthiest 10 per cent of earners.
But students dreaming of free school shouldn’t get excited yet. The Liberals have only eight of the legislature’s 83 seats and are running in fourth place with just 12 per cent support, according to a poll by CBC News. The incumbent Progressive Conservatives, led by Premier Alison Redford, had 46 per cent of decided voters in the poll, followed by the upstart Wildrose Alliance at 24 per cent and the New Democrats at 14 per cent.
But how long can it last?
Norway is one of the last remaining countries where foreign students can attend university without paying a cent of tuition money. But with free school increasingly rare, how long can it last?
Shocking as it may seem to many Canadians, Norweigians don’t charge any tuition to anyone—which was, until recently, normal in Scandinavia. Now, Denmark, Finland and Sweden all charge tuition fees, leaving Norway the only free option.
It should be unsurprising then to learn that foreigners are choosing Norway more often than ever. When non-European Union students were charged tuition fees for the first time this year in Sweden (up to $21,000 each), applications dropped 85 per cent. Meanwhile, Noway’s University of Oslo experienced a 60 per cent rise in popularity. Since 2008, the number of foreign students in Norway is up 27 per cent overall.
NB mayor says free tuition would encourage procreation, increase population
A number of arguments have been put forward in favour of the elimination of post-secondary tuition fees over the years, including arguments associated with increasing access for those who cannot afford post-secondary education and mistaken notions about equity and taxation.
The mayor of Saint John, New Brunswick has proposed another reason for eliminating tuition fees: procreation. Saint John Mayor Ivan Court believes that free tuition for post-secondary education might encourage Saint Johners to have more children and thereby increase the city’s population.
Can you imagine the placard slogans?