Following from the email sent on February 19, 2013 regarding the Ontario Conservative Party’s white paper — “Better Learning for Better Jobs”, please find attached OCUFA’s analysis of the white paper, which was released on Tuesday.
As noted in the OCUFA analysis, the paper articulates an instrumental vision of higher education in which the primary purpose of the university is to provide students with job training in order to ensure graduate employment tied to presumed labour market demands. It calls for increased reliance on teaching-only faculty, claiming that this will improve quality within a context of limited finances, and argues that government funding for universities should be tied to a range of performance indicators. The paper’s proposals for higher tuition coupled with increased reliance on restrictive student aid would create further inequities for students and their families and represent a troubling tendency toward greater marketization of higher education.
The policy paper’s proposals for cutting the costs associated with universities by imposing an across the board wage freeze and converting university pensions to defined contribution plans undermines local collective bargaining rights and signals a race to the bottom. Despite attempts to soften its message by characterizing its proposals as driving economic development and ensuring student access, “Higher Learning for Better Jobs” presents proposals that would result in a narrowly conceived, highly directive model of higher education in Ontario that would exacerbate the inequalities that already exist in our universities.
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229