Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Education'

Should an Ontario university degree be a debt sentence?

April 23rd, 2014 · · Education, Ontario, Youth

Right now, post-secondary students across Ontario are finishing up their studies for the year and heading off to summer jobs – if they have been lucky enough to land one.

New research from the CCPA demonstrates just how difficult it is to save up for tuition fees every year.

Ontario’s students face the highest average tuition in Canada, paying on average $7,259/year on tuition. Saskatchewan is next in line at $6,394. Newfoundland and Labrador have the lowest average tuition fees at $2,644.

tuition fees

Source: Tuition in Canada, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from:

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Problem? Ask a CEO (That’s Chief Expert Officer to You, Buddy!)

March 3rd, 2014 · · Capitalism, corporations, Education, Satire

Parents, take note! Your search for clarity in the education debates is finally over.  The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) commissioned a report a few weeks ago that set out a fairly bleak picture of general dissatisfaction with public schools and then concluded with a series of recommendations about how to “fix” the problem.

You know, by measuring teacher quality through student outcomes, in addition to having students and other “impartial” parties judge a teacher’s performance through more frequent (possibly surprise) evaluations…and then assigning bonuses to those educators deemed worthy. Because: incentives!

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P3 Evaluation: A Co-dependent Relationship?

November 5th, 2013 · · Education, Saskatchewan

In response to the provincial NDP’s call for an independent evaluation of the costs of the government’s proposed P3 school construction project, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure Don McMorris dismissed the opposition’s concern stating that “there will be an independent evaluation, not by government,” but by an independent “accounting firm, whether Ernst & Young or Deloitte.” Pressed by CBC Radio Host Sheila Coles regarding the independence of the evaluation process from government, Minister McMorris added:

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Jeopardy, Jackpot, or Wheel of (Mis)Fortune?

September 13th, 2013 · · Democracy, Economy & Economic Indicators, Education, Income Inequality, Maritime Provinces, Poverty and Income Inequality, Youth

It seems all that fuss being kicked up about tuition fees rising faster than inflation, significant levels of student debt, dismal employment prospects for young people, and parents having to postpone retirement to help shoulder some of the burden under which their kids are struggling has not gone unnoticed.

As we discuss in Degrees of Uncertainty, the average cost of tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergrads will rise by 13% over the course of their degree, from $6,610 this fall to an estimated $7,437 in 2016-17. Since 1990, average tuition and compulsory fees, even adjusting for inflation, have tripled since 1990.

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Student job market is tighter than a pair of skinny jeans

September 12th, 2013 · · Education, Employment and Labour, Youth

For most university students across Canada, this week marks the end of summer and the first full week of fall classes. As CCPA noted on Wednesday, most students celebrated ‘back-to-school’ with tuition increases and higher student debt. However, new data from Statistics Canada suggests that students are not only struggling with tuition costs, but they are also struggling to find summer employment – traditionally, a way for students to help pay for University.

The result is that students are being squeezed on both sides, trying to cope with higher tuition fees and growing debt on one side while having a harder time finding jobs to pay for it.

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Sociology: I Can’t Quit You

May 3rd, 2013 · · Democracy, Education, Satire

True confession time, people.

I commit sociology.

And not just as a one-off.

You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.

That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the “right” thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic.

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What price would you pay for an education?

May 1st, 2013 · · Education, Immigration, Saskatchewan, Youth

How much would you give up to get a university education? For most of us, four years of work, study, investment and anxiety are the costs we are willing to pay to secure the benefits and opportunities of a university degree. But is a university degree worth so much to you that you would allow yourself to be confined in a church basement, cut off from physical contact with friends and family for almost a year of your life all while under constant threat of arrest and deportation? Most of us would balk at such an ordeal, but for two University of Regina students facing deportation orders for their honest mistake of working off-campus at a local Wal-Mart, this is exactly the extent they are willing to go advance their education.

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Tuition hike and the media between 2005 and 2010 in Québec

February 14th, 2013 · · Education, Media, Quebec

I’ve contended for the last two years that between 2005 and 2010, an intensive public relations campaign was undertaken with the aim of increasing tuition fees in Québec. I believe it was crucial when the proposal to hike fees was formally submitted in Raymond Bachand’s first budget, the Liberal government’s last Minister of Finance and contender in the party’s current leadership race. Until recently, this impression was tied up to a very personal reading of the media. However, I came up with the strange idea of empirically testing this hypothesis whilst I was preparing to participate in a conference at the sociology department of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). I thus spent a few days producing the following…

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Quality assurance in Ontario

November 14th, 2012 · · Education, Ontario

The traditional model of quality assurance, where professors and institutional bodies evaluate, approve and improve programs, has always existed in Ontario. However, the centralization and standardization of quality assurance has been accelerated by university and college administrators and encouraged by Ministry staff. External pressures for standardization from the OECD and processes emerging in Europe through the Bologna process have driven these changes.

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) started to coordinate quality assurance reviews in the mid-1990s. One of their subcommittees conducted seven-year audits of institutional review processes, and oversaw a board called the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies that evaluated and approved graduate programs.  The first year of auditing occurred in 1997.

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There’s Nothing Inevitable About Eduflation

September 13th, 2012 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Education, Media, Uncategorized, Youth

It might have been my imagination (or perhaps wishful thinking), but in the midst of this year’s back-to-school media coverage, the issue of student debt seemed a little more prominent than usual.

At least two surveys identified high levels of debt ($28k on average), and the stress—more than that of finding a job or getting good grades–this is causing students. The federal government estimates the cost of a university degree (including accommodation, tuition, food and other expenses) to be $60k for a four-year degree, while a separate survey put that figure at closer to $80k.

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