Fordism and Ontario Universities: College "For the People" Who Can Pay

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1768 ... February 20, 2019

Fordism and Ontario Universities: College "For the People" Who Can Pay

School Magazine

In 2011, The Quebec Liberal government of Jean Charest decided to hike post-secondary school tuition fees by 75 per cent over a five-year period. This move mobilized students across Quebec and by 2012 a demonstration in Montreal brought out between 100,000 and 200,000 people. About 310,000 out of a total 400,000 students across the province were out on strike. The symbol of their protest was a small red square patch anyone could make and attach with a safety pin. In August 2012, Charest’s government was defeated in an election and the increase was repealed.

Last Monday, several hundred students gathered in the slush in front Queen’s Park. Many of them wore... the same small red patches pinned to their coats – the symbol of the fight in Quebec against the tuition fee hike.

The red patch – a fine counter symbol to Tory blue.

There’s a chill on higher education. It’s something students and parents in elementary and secondary schools would do well to watch.

In the middle of January, Doug Ford said he planned to cut tuition fees for post-secondary students by 10 per cent starting September 2019. That would amount to about $340 for a college student and $660 for an arts and science undergraduate in university. This according to his government, was to "keep more money in the pockets of Ontario’s students."

Well, some of them at least.

It will be a help for students who can already afford to pay the full fare, for example. They get to hang onto that 10 per cent cut in fees. But that’s about the only good news in this story. According to Training Colleges and Universities Minister, Merrilee Fullerton, the government doesn’t plan to make up for the loss of revenue to the post-secondary schools that bear the cut. It’s up to them to come up with a way to cope with the loss of about $440-million – what that tuition fee cut amounts to.

Last June, according to the Globe and Mail, representatives from colleges and universities called on the government to increase funding to universities so they could maintain quality of instruction. The former Liberal government had put a 1 per cent raise in the 2018 budget. Post-secondary institutions are not swimming in money.

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