Fix PSE System Before Building Addition!
According to an article in yesterday’s Toronto Star, the Ontario government will create room forÂ 60,000 new students in its colleges and universitiesÂ by 2015-2016, 10% of which will be for graduate students.Â (I assume this means that, by 2015-2016, there will be 60,000 more students enroled in Ontario’s post-secondary insitutions than is currently the case, and that 10% of these new spaces will be for graduate students.)
While I’m not opposed on principleÂ to the creation for new spaces in Ontario’s post-secondary education (PSE)Â system, I am concerned about how poorly-funded current students are.Â As I’ve blogged about before, university students in Ontario currently pay the highest tuition in the country; and student debt for a four-year degree in Ontario has increased by 175% in roughly the past 15 years.Â Ontario also provides less per-student funding than any other province and has larger class sizes than any other province.
Moreover, itÂ hardlyÂ helps that federal funding for PSEÂ is considerably less now than it was in the mid-1980s (in spite of risingÂ enrolment),Â as I’ve blogged about here.
Announcing new spaces for college and university students makes for a nice photo-op, especially with a provincial election on the horizon.Â But the McGuinty government’s approachÂ on PSEÂ is akin to building an addition to your house when the roof is leaking.
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.