TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario's professors and academic
librarians are criticizing the report of the Drummond Commission on the
Reform of Ontario's Public Services for being long on cuts and short on
insights. Taken together, Drummond's recommendations would continue the
erosion of educational quality at Ontario's universities and colleges.
"Drummond recognizes that higher education is severely underfunded. He
also recognizes that universities and colleges are the keys to social
vitality and economic success," said Constance Adamson, President of
the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).
"True 'transformational change' requires the courage to fund the sector
at a level that allows it to succeed. By only fiddling around the
margins, Drummond is proposing that higher education drive Ontario
forward on a half-empty tank."
Drummond's chief recommendation is that government funding of
universities and colleges be limited to 1.5 per cent per year. As the
report itself points out, this is an effective cut to higher education
funding that does not keep pace with enrolment or inflation. Ontario's
universities already receive 25 per cent less per-student funding than they did in 1990; Drummond's recommendations
will make this under-funding even worse.
Drummond's recommendations also contain serious factual errors. He
recommends that Ontario faculty contracts be brought in line with the
broader public sector. In 2011, faculty compensation increases were
below both the private sector and broader public sector, at 1.5 per cent. The
report further recommends that faculty be given more flexibility to
adjust how much teaching and research they do. Right now, almost all of
Ontario faculty's collective agreements allow them to do exactly that.
"If Drummond had bothered to ask Ontario faculty about their jobs, we
could have given him a better idea of what was actually going on. As it
is, his picture is incomplete," said Adamson.
"Overall, Drummond is asking Ontario's universities to do more with
less. But in the face of steadily rising enrolment, this just means
less for our students: less interaction with professors, fewer learning
choices, and more barriers to young people seeking an exceptional
Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians
in 27 faculty associations across Ontario. For more information,
please visit the OCUFA website at http://www.ocufa.on.ca.
SOURCE Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
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