Austerity measures must protect gains in education

Students across Canada have drawn their eyes to the recent debate over tuition hikes in Britain. Recently, the British government has tripled the cap on domestic tuition at universities across the country as an austerity measure to help reign in colossal debt and ease the possibility of defaulting on that debt.

Rightly students are worried that this approach is going to migrate to Canada, where we face our own problems with mounting debt. Nova Scotia is considering to hike tuition on average 21 per cent by not renewing its student bursary program.

Tuition in Ontario is already the highest in Canada on average and with a noticeable decline in quality of education at Laurier and elsewhere, students have no patience to pay more.

The province’s recent announcement to fund $73.7 million towards improving the credit transfer system between universities and colleges is a breath of fresh air. Countless students lose thousands of dollars when transferring from one institution to another, as old credits are not acknowledged.

Full benefits of this funding will take five years to take effect; the Ontario government should continue to consider areas to improve the post-secondary sector to benefit students already within the system. Future economic growth depends on vibrant post-secondary education. The government should pause to consider this in case it launches austerity measures of its own and strive to protect the gains made.