Government's Reaching Higher Plan Fails to Protect the Quality of University Education



    TORONTO, March 20 /CNW/ - "It has been nearly three years since the
provincial government announced its Reaching Higher plan to enhance
postsecondary education, but indicators show that threats to the quality of
education in Ontario universities remain," said Professor Brian E. Brown,
President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
(OCUFA).
    "The current government seems to have a fascination with quality
indicators, like student-faculty ratios, class sizes and surveys. But these
same indicators have not improved in the last three years," Brown stated.
    Just as in 2003, Ontario ranks last in Canada in funding of universities,
per capita. Student-faculty ratios in Ontario continue to be the worst in the
country at 26 students for every faculty member, compared with 22 students in
the rest of Canada and 16 students in American peer institutions. Class sizes
continue to increase. Ontario students reported 28 percent lower levels of
interaction with faculty than students at peer institutions in the United
States.
    These problems persist while tuition fees continue to rise significantly.
Statistics Canada data shows that tuition has risen $1241 for undergraduates
and $3187 for professional students between the academic years 2004-05 and
2007-08.
    "The Reaching Higher plan was a good beginning, but the government has
not followed through. The government needs to invest $440 million to hire the
5,500 new tenure stream faculty that are required to bring Ontario's 2009-10
student-faculty ratios up to the Canadian average and ensure that students
receive the high standard of educational experience they deserve," said
Professor Brown.

    The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations represents
more than 15,000 professors and academic librarians.




For further information:

For further information: Henry Mandelbaum, Executive Director, (416)
979-2117 x 229, hmandelbaum@ocufa.on.ca or Mark Rosenfeld, Associate Executive
Director, (416) 979-2117 x 233, mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

Organization Profile

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

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ONTARIO BUDGET REACTION 2008

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