If you've been on a college campus recently, you will surely notice the plentiful Drop Fees campaign material. The CSF's relentless campaign to get tuition fees in Ontario lowered has come back reliably every year, inspiring some students to activism, and irking others (the general argument being that lower tuition fees mean a devalued degree).
Myself, I have felt somewhat ambiguous about this. It's true that tuition fees in Ontario, when compared with the rest of Canada, are pretty high (although still next to nothing when compared to, say, the US). Right now, I am paying just under $5 000 per year in tuition fees for my BA; if I was a resident of Quebec and studying at U Montreal or U Laval, I'd be paying just under $2 000 for the same thing. Yes, this means higher taxes for the citizens of Quebec, but if I was a baby boomer, one who anticipated retiring in the next decade or so and expecting to need doctors, nurses, pharmacists, accountants, law enforcement professionals, and above all, CPP contributors, well, I would understand the need to fork over part of my paycheque for education.
Yesterday, November 5, my school like many others joined in the rallies, marching from the atrium of the university centre to downtown Ottawa. Some students came up with an innovative way of advertising the march: sidewalk chalk. Chalked messages covered a number of surfaces around campus, like the one I saw in the quad this morning:
MEET IN ARTIUM
If you're worried about lower tuition fees devaluing your degree, I propose a solution. Let's campaign for lower tuition fees in Ontario -- and higher admissions averages.
(Either that, or better education in our high schools. After the "literacy test", the obsession with the five-paragraph essay, and teachers who act more like baby sitters than instructors, it is a wonder than anyone graduates with any academic literacy at all.)