Friday, April 27, 2012

Start up visa program linked to research and innovation

Policy Monitor is reporting that changes to federal immigration policy are being considered. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced they are consulting with industry about a proposal to increase immigration targeting at business innovation and research.

This language echoes the priorities in the 2012 federal budget, and previous changes to immigration aimed at graduate students.

Hopefully Canada isn't losing innovators with the decision to have some applicants on wait lists start their immigration application over again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quebec women's centres strike in support of students

Hundreds of thousands of students have been demonstrating against the reduction of funding for university education in Quebec.

Today, Quebec women's centres went on strike in support of the students, stating:

En effet, un système d’éducation accessible est au cœur de la construction d’une société plus démocratique et plus juste. La lutte qui est en cours concerne tout le monde et tout particulièrement les femmes parce qu’elles avaient largement bénéficié de la démocratisation de l'accessibilité aux études : accès à de meilleurs emplois et à de meilleurs salaires, augmentation de la participation aux débats publics, amélioration de l’autonomie économique et de leur émancipation.

[my rough translation:

Effectively, accessible education is at the heart of the effort to build a just and democratic society. The struggle that is happening now concerns everyone, especially women, because women have largely benefited from making education accessible through access to better jobs and salaries, increased participation in public demate, economic autonomy and emancipation.]

Linking cuts to university education to cuts to health, women, and first nations, they issued a statement via video as well (in French). It states, among other things, they have followed 11 weeks of protest and deplore the use of pepper spray on peaceful student demonstrators, calling it disproportionate and gratuitous:

Monday, April 23, 2012

UVIC leaves Access Copyright, along with 35 other AUCC members

The Ring reports UVIC will not renew it's Access Copyright membership in 2012.

AUCC had negotiated a deal that would cost universities 26$ per full time student per year, replacing an old 10 cents per page cost for course packs. (UVic says it paid $3.38/student per year at the 10 cents per page rate). No doubt this would have ended up a fee transferred to students. (UVic decided to leave Access Copyright in December--at which time the price for Access was going to be $45/full time student).

Today, Michael Geist writes in the Tyee that several schools are breaking ranks with AUCC on how to deal with accessing copyrighted material in academia. Geist points out there is a trend toward creative commons licensing in academic journals, and many universities already pay for online journal access, making the course-pack style redundant.

Teaching classes? More details on UVIC copyright policies and changes are here.

Analyzing the Quebec student demonstrations

A group of self-described progressive economists have called out CBC's Rex Murphy on some simplistic "stop complaining' analysis and considering how funding for universities has changed.

I couldn't agree more. I have been frustrated at the media analysis of the Quebec student protests, which seem to ask only how Quebec tuition compares to tuition in other provinces, but don't look at the dramatic changes to the Quebec education system being proposed by the Charest government.

I think it is important to consider more than this-- in particular the percentage of the cost of education covered by tuition, and how it has changed over time. Quebec is looking to shift the funding burden for universities from the province to the students, a mistake made in BC while I was studying for my BA.

When I started at UVIC in 1988, student tuition covered 12% of the cost of the university budget. in 2011, UVIC's annual review reported student tuition covers 21% of the universities budget. [pdf].

In 2009, after a round of 30% per year tuition increases, UVIC conducted a study on the impact on students (pdf) that is worth a read. UVIC worked hard to increase grants to students and address these problems. The 2011 review cited above also shows this increase in grants and support.

Anyone can compare the funding situation of universities in BC because university audits are public and published on the Ministry of Advanced Education website here.