Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quebec students protest university fee hikes

Quebec students pay the lowest tuition fees in Canada but this does not deter Quebec students who are militant in defending low tuition fees. The highest tuition fees are in the province next door Ontario.

Students claim that they want to keep university education accessible to all. In North America such an idea will be called Utopian but in many European countries it is still reality even in some smaller hardly rich countries such as Finland where there are no post secondary fees. While primary and secondary education are still free of tuition fees when it comes to post-secondary education fees are so high that many students are either unable to attend or saddled with huge debts after they graduate.

Tens of thousands of students are expected to rally in Montreal and Quebec City to protest the projected 75 per cent increase in fees. The Liberal government of Jean Charest introduced the fees in the budget.

About 100,000 students at Quebec universities and CEGEPS (junior colleges, pre university) have walked out of classes since mid-February in protest at the projected fee increases. So far there is no communication between government and students apparently.

At present a Quebec student pays an average of $2,519 dollars per year. When fully phased in over several years the increases will add 1,625 on average. Newfoundland-Labrador fees are almost as low at $2,649 per year. Ontario is the most expensive at 6,640 dollars on average. There has been a 23 per cent increase in 4 years.

The CBC asks if tuition fees across Canada are fair in a poll. Of course not just look at Finland. If we all had the Finnish fee system it would be fair. For more see this article. No doubt these fees look like small potatoes compared to some of the fees in U.S. universities.

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