TORONTO, ON – On November 26, Minister of College and Universities, Ross Romano, announced plans to move forward with a performance-based funding plan that will tie 60 per cent of post-secondary funding to ten metrics determined by the Ford government. The Ontario Government refused to consult students and faculty about this plan. Students are concerned that it will lead to a further decrease in the quality of their education.
“Students have repeatedly voiced concerns about shifting to a performance-based funding model,” said Kayla Weiler, Ontario Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students, “as the pandemic leaves students facing an unrecognizable job market, it is more reckless than ever to move towards a plan that ties post-secondary funding to indicators like post-graduation employment.”
Tying the majority of post-secondary funding to arbitrary metrics set out by the performance-based funding plan will have a negative impact on academic autonomy, diversity of research and interdisciplinary studies. This plan will pressure colleges and universities to prioritize fields of study that produce higher wage earning workers. The mission of post-secondary institutions is to provide higher education. Performance-based funding will compromise academic freedom and disrupt collegial governance as institutions will be more likely to be influenced by corporate or private interest in exchange for increased funding.
Romano’s announcement could not come at a worse time for students. The current crisis has exacerbated long-standing issues in post-secondary education including high tuition fees and lack of public funding. Throughout the pandemic, students have said that greater public funding would make Ontario’s post-secondary education system more resilient to the impacts of COVID-19. Instead, Romano’s plan continues to weaken a system that is already hurting students.
In a recent poll released by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, a majority of students and faculty identified that the pandemic has caused a decline in the quality of education. A performance-based funding model will put further strain on a post-secondary education system that is struggling with ballooning class sizes and a lack of institutional and government support.
“Now is the time to invest in public services, not tie funding to arbitrary metrics,” said Weiler, “the only way to ensure that students will obtain the education and skills they need for in-demand jobs is to adequately fund post-secondary education, with the ultimate goal of making it free.”
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the oldest and largest student organization in Ontario, representing over 350,000 college and university students in every region of the province.
For more information:
Kayla Weiler, National Executive Representative, at 519-901-0273
Melissa Palermo, Staff, at 416-529-8205