Tuition protest a smokescreen

With the winter semester fast approaching final exams, university students in Quebec continue to protest against proposed tuition hikes.

With the winter semester fast approaching final exams, university students in Quebec continue to protest against proposed tuition hikes.

Students at Quebec’s universities have taken job action, or study action, whatever you want to call it since February.

During the ensuing weeks the protests have grown in size, hyperbole and unfortunately have lost much of the peaceful aspect of the demonstration with acts of vandalism.

Unions and social groups have jumped on the bandwagon, adding their voices to the cacophony.

Tuition hikes are the bane of any university student.  I know, I’ve paid more than my fair share of tuition.

So I can understand the reaction to the proposed tuition hike in Quebec which will see a year’s worth of classes go from just over $2,000 to just over $4,000 over the next five to seven years.

That’s a hefty hike.

I wouldn’t be happy to see my hard earned beer money going into the government’s pockets.

Nonetheless, when all is said and paid, university students in Quebec will still be paying less for a year’s worth of learning than most students across Canada.

Lost in much of the rhetoric is that a bachelor’s degree in Quebec only requires three years of study, not four like the rest of the country.

This is because Quebec has the CEGEP program.  The two-year academic program in CEGEP covers what would be considered first-year university courses at most universities across the country.

What doesn’t come up in any part of the debate surrounding tuition rates, is that tuition for CEGEP studies, in other words, a year’s worth of university courses, is free.

Yep, CEGEP does not have tuition fees.

Consequently, a university degree in Quebec, really costs a student 75% of what it costs students elsewhere in the country.

If I was a student in Quebec I would gladly pay my tuition fees and giggle all the way back to my piggy bank with my savings.

If I was a student elsewhere in the country I would start doing the math and I would be organizing a protest for lower tuition fees.

So, what is the fuss really about?

Beats me.


– Percy N. Hébert/Interior News



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