December 16, 2014 — The final report from the university funding policy working group, made public more than five months after it was submitted, makes a number of accurate observations, many of which have been noted for years by the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU). “Recognition of the importance of a balance between teaching quality and access to education, a framework for compulsory university fees, and a clear demonstration of the steady growth of the student body for more than a decade—all of these correspond to the FQPPU’s positions and observations,” said Max Roy, President of the FQPPU.
However, in the wake of the 2013 Higher Education Summit, the working group should have called for an in-depth revision of the highly criticized university funding policy, which unfortunately did not occur. The FQPPU made a number of proposals, particularly to ensure both equity among universities and predictable funding. The Tremblay-Roy report incorporates these principles, but goes off track when it suggests that the weighting grid based on the number of students be kept and when it proposes increasing tuition fees for non-Quebec students and varying tuition by discipline. “These recommendations challenge commonly accepted positions and will not be adopted without thorough debate,” said Mr. Roy. “While Minister Bolduc seems to want to turn the task over to a committee of experts, we favour the establishment of a real Council of Universities, as suggested in the report.” In addition to guiding the university funding reform, the Council would be in charge of approving new academic programs. Since 1997, and at the 2013 Summit, the FQPPU has called for establishing a Council, which seems more necessary than ever as the discussion process resulting from the report begins.