OCUFA responds to leaked proposals for reform of Ontario’s universities

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Last week, several media outlets reported on a leaked document outlining Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Glen Murray’s plans for university reform. The report suggests that Ontario move to three-year undergraduate degrees, offer year-round university programming, and offer 60 per cent of courses online.
 
OCUFA President Constance Adamson responded to these proposals in the Toronto Star. Said Adamson, “We are already feeling the lack of the (fifth year of high school), and by taking university degrees from four years to three, you are essentially reducing the amount of education students are going to get. It’s sort of churning them through, fast-tracking them through into an uncertain labour market.”
 
OCUFA has concerns with all of the proposals. There is no student demand for three-year degrees, and these new credentials would limit the ability of students to pursue further study in other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States. The year-round programming proposal ignores the significant amount of work already done at universities during the summer, and is not sensitive to the financial needs of students who must work during the summer to pay for rising tuition fees. While online education is a useful option for some students, it can never replace the face-to-face interaction with faculty. If done right, online education is also very expensive.
 
Overall, the proposals provide no clear benefits or cost-savings, and may seriously harm the quality of undergraduate education in Ontario. OCUFA will monitor these proposals closely and will ensure that the faculty perspective is strongly represented in any consultations or public debates.

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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