Canada’s student movement stands in solidarity with members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA), who have been on strike since November 1 in defence of academic freedom, fair workloads and high-quality education.
On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, thousands of students fighting for free education in Canada took action on 58 campuses in 36 cities across every province.
We have never been so bold in our demand for free education now. November 2 marked a point from which the Canadian Federation of Students will not turn back. Exorbitant tuition fees and record levels of student debt have created a crisis that demands fundamental change. The only solution is the outright elimination of tuition fees in favour of a universal system of public post-secondary education.
Kiki Wood is the National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and co-coordinator of Fossil Free Canada.
When I entered University in 2007, I thought a post-secondary education was all about the courses you took and the GPA you graduated with. What I didn’t know, was that the education that would get me pretty much every job I’ve had since graduating came from the education of the student movement more than the classroom. Today, Universities and colleges are once again becoming sites of grassroots organizing. Students today are one of the biggest forces of power for justice, but they shoulder an incredible financial burden.
Originally published in The Winnipeg Free Press
The tuition debate back is back in Manitoba with a very different focus than in previous years. Recent comments made by the premier and education minister suggest that after more than a decade of a tuition freeze followed by legislation limiting increases in undergraduate fees to the rate of inflation, higher tuition fee increases are under consideration.
Originally published in The Canadian Dimension
There’s something stirring on Canadian campuses. No longer content with piecemeal reform, students are eyeing the larger prize of zero tuition. The demand for free tuition, which has grown louder and louder in places ranging from South Africa, to the United Kingdom, to the USA has found its echo in Canada.
President of Local 36 (Grenfell Campus Student Union) and International Constituency Commissioner of the Canadian Federation of Students
Picture this – two students sitting in the same classroom, reading the same textbooks, and learning the same material. But one is paying $6,373/year to be there, and other is paying $23,589/year to be there. This is the reality in every single province across Canada, as successive governments have allowed post-secondary institutions to charge exorbitant differential tuition fees for international students.
With just one week until the Canadian Federation of Students’ (CFS) November 2 national day of action for free education, students are announcing the support of 83 labour unions, civil society organizations and community groups.
“Students have been there for us on the picket lines and in our campaigns to defend public services,” said Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “This historic cooperation demonstrates the urgent need for action, and our success will showcase the strength of our movements’ unity. I will be there on November 2 to demand free education now. It’s long overdue.”
The arguments against the elimination of tuition fees are deeply flawed. More to the point, they’re often hilariously dependant on the complete suspension of reality.
It’s tough out there! The job market has never been more competitive and yet the opportunities have never been more precarious. Students and new graduates are fighting over unpaid internships hoping it will lead to illusory, highly coveted paying jobs. But I am afraid this is a lost cause.
Students (especially ‘millennial’ students) are often derided when we ask for anything. Even if all we’re asking for is a minimum wage paycheck. Yet long gone are the days where students can finance their education through government loans and summer jobs.