Wednesday October 22 2014

The Laval News, Laval's English newspaper since 1993 - Journal anglais à Laval depuis 1993.

EDITORIAL - Free University Tuition- Hell NO

Well now, you give in an inch and reverse tuition increases and now, some of Quebec’s students want another pound of taxpayers’ flesh, money so that they can pursue their higher education for free. What students must come to appreciate is that higher education is not just about accumulating knowledge. If that were the case they might as well stay home and surf their cyber world where everything is just a click away. Achieving in higher education is a journey that is first and foremost characterized by sacrifice and effort. It is not easy and it is not supposed to be. That is why there is much ado about the degrees awarded upon the successful completion of a program study.

Most students have to work at least full time at summer jobs in order to go to school. Others who have full time responsibilities and live independently need to also work at least part time during the school year to manage. With those considerations it is clear that deferred repayment government loans are clearly needed to help those students. However these cases represent the minority situation for students.

Working to help subsidise ones education develops life skills and maturity which are often greater predictors of future success. Time management, budgeting, learning the value of money, learning delayed gratification are all realities that help build character and self-esteem. Working hard to achieve something is the foundation for a sense of personal gratification. Also if one is able to work in and around their chosen career path the working experience may also confirm the validity of the chosen field of study and start the students develop the frits rungs of the all-important social and work networking ladder. So while the knowledge and education is provided by the institute the moulding of the character and life skills is learned from life experiences.

The other reason students are selling themselves short not accepting the increases tuition fees is that we are lucky to have access to world class higher education institutes in Quebec. Whether it has been because of government assistance or not the truth is that our universities can no longer continue to achieve international acclaim if new investments are not made into the system. Already many institutions are severely underfunded and continuing this policy of depending on the private sector to provide relief will ultimately result in a deterioration of the excellence that we are used to.

If we hope to continue to be competitive in the future and to create superior employment opportunities it is clear that we need the institutions to educate and train quality workers. Future economic development will depend on much research and science. If the universities want to continue attracting the best minds the world has to offer someone has to pay the bill. Quebec’s government had asked the students to fund just a small portion of the investment needed in keeping with the tradition that we have access to the lowest costing university education in all of North America. All the students have achieved by erasing tuition increases is to short change themselves and future generation of students. If they believe the province can provide quality free university education this short-sightedness will result in the dilution of quality higher education in Quebec. Free university education, hell no.

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