Ontario TCU minister calls on private sector to boost investment in PSE

March 12, 2012

In a speech Friday, Ontario Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Glen Murray called on the private sector to fund a larger share of higher-education costs. Other than a fleeting pledge to not fund the future "on the backs of students" (through tuition fee increases alone) and a quick call to use campuses more efficiently than "just 66 per cent of the year" (through a proposal to have courses run through the summer), Murray cast his eyes over the corporate world. Ontario taxpayers already pay "a lot of the freight" for PSE, said Murray, so new growth needs to come from the type of public-private partnerships common at US Ivy League institutions. Murray also noted that today's entrepreneurial students find corporate sponsors and investors prior to graduation, "so the wall is being erased between the classroom and the workplace. Some students are graduating with their diploma in one hand and their incorporation certificate in the other." The chair of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario says she finds such emphasis on private funding "concerning," and also warns that it is not easy to run classes all summer, as some students need that period to either make money or conduct research. Toronto Star