The Summit on higher education is not immediately launched that first Apple of discord breaks expected harmony: rectors are indeed disappointed and unhappy to note that Québec does not recognize the under-financing of their universities, as evidenced by the information document unveiled Thursday.
The first Minister Pauline Marois, flanked by the Minister of higher education, Pierre Duchesne, and Parliamentary Assistant, Leo Bureau-Blouin, unveiled Thursday the approach that will lead to the Summit on higher education, a commitment of the Parti Québécois in election campaign in response to the student crisis historic spring.
In the Backgrounder are preparing the Summit unveiled on this occasion, a presentation of the main indicators of higher education said that “overall spending by Quebec universities student” in 2009 – 2010 was $ 29 414, according to a calculation adding the general operation, sponsored research and capital. It is noted that, “despite the fact that the cost of living is lower” in Quebec as in other provinces, “we invest more”, with a bill of 1% higher than in the rest of the Canada.
The rectors strive for years to show the backwardness of Quebec, funding of universities, compared to the average Canadian. The printing of these figures in an official document to launch the discussion takes like a disavowal of the underfunding that they claim.
The calculation chosen by Québec therefore boosted the rectors. “We are very disappointed,” said Thursday Daniel Zizian, CEO. of the CREPUQ (Conference of Rectors) and principal of Université du Québec. “This way of counting gives a reflection of incomplete and misrepresentation of the reality of the University funding because that, in fact, research funding to researchers for specific purposes may not be transferred by the universities for teaching. Following this erroneous logic could undress the research to education. But can not do that! »
CREPUQ has made known his displeasure with this choice at the Ministry of higher education and is concerned for the rest of the things. “We will repeat it in all forums: it is not true that under-funding of universities has disappeared as if by magic”, continues Mr. Zizian.
It should be noted that, soon named Pierre Duchesne had indicated that he wanted to see all the figures to be convinced of the under-financing of universities, CREPUQ, which the latest study on the subject dates back to 2010, estimated now at 620 million dollars annually.
The dialogue after the crisis
The first Minister Marois indicated that his Government opened its “wide-angle” to address a “vital issue”, that the prosperity of the nation through knowledge. “We want to lay the groundwork for a true knowledge for all society”, she said, recalling the importance, in time, of the conclusions of the Parent report.
To enable the “constructive debate”, the approach chosen provides firstly a long consultation period on four topics: the quality of education; accessibility and participation in the studies; the governance and funding of the universities; and the contribution of the institutions and the research to the development of Quebec. This preparation upstream will include discussions with the population, a tour and special events, and four thematic meetings, including the first on the quality of education, will take place in Quebec City on November 29 and 30.
The Web, social networks and citizen animation expertise of the Institute’s new world will provide material for trade, all leading to the Summit itself, in February.
“It was in the policy of the division. It is now in the policy of dialogue,”said the Minister of higher education, Pierre Duchesne, who said that he wished to rake a lot wider than only tuition fees. “Everything is on the table”, he said.
Questioned the right of the student strike, the Prime Minister replied that “student democracy should be addressed within the framework of reflections”. His Government still believes in indexing of the tuition, a position in the election campaign, but would like to hear all proposals of school free on the rise.
The University student Federation of Quebec see positively the approach chosen by Quebec, but a student Trade Union solidarity (ASSE) Association has the impression that the dice are thrown prior to the debate, including on the issue of the indexing of the rights.