Editorial Board 1999-2000
Looking out for number one
Looking out for number one
With universities across Ontario preparing for the double cohort, administrations are discussing ways to streamline curriculums.
Some Ontario administrators have proposed eliminating the three year Bachelors of Arts and Science programs in order to institute the North American norm of a four year undergraduate program. The four year BA and BSc are not only already recognized throughout the United States, but also in every other province in Canada.
Administrators also argue there will be a greater demand for four year degrees, since Ontario students will be spending less time in high school, thereby facing the possibility of finishing university less a year of education.
While both of these reasons suggest administrators are finally putting students first in the post-secondary education game, one huge factor remains to be discussed the cost.
With tuition levels increasing at astronomical rates and the demand for financial assistance, through avenues such as the Ontario Students Assistance Program, escalating, an added year of university education is an impossible scenario for many students.
One might ask why Ontario administrators are suddenly realizing the positive benefits of a four year BA. Could it be double dollar signs are flashing in the eyes of university officials with nothing on their minds but the dreaded double cohort? Or is it that the government wants to, once again, shift the cost of education from their pockets to ours?
Either way, post-secondary education seems to be changing for the wrong reasons.
Although Ontario is the only province without a four year BA program, the problems now associated with it should have arisen before this late date. Out of province students attending a university in Ontario did not benefit from the extra year of high school Ontario students were privy to, yet up until now it hasn't been addressed as a problem.
It is time that each university judges itself according to the political and socio-economic climate in which it exists. Students can no longer afford the basic three year degree what makes administrators feel they will be able to afford one which lasts an additional year?
It is also time for administrators to stand by students in the fight against the deregulation of tuition levels and the increased lack of funding from the government. University officials should understand what students are facing in these trying times of cutbacks and make accessibility the issue of number one importance.
When debating the adoption of a longer undergraduate stay, the issue of accessibility is not only an important one, but the only one.