On March 29, 2012, 200 students in Quebec went on strike to protest increases in tuition. The students gathered outside the largest courthouse in Montreal and blocked access to it during the early morning. Later in the day, the students had plans to march from four separate locations and meet in the downtown area of Quebec. These marches promised to cause traffic delays in the busy city and around 1:00pm, police used stun grenades and tear gas to get the rowdy students under control.
This is not the first time that student groups have gone on strike in Quebec due to proposed tuition hikes. There have already been several protests that caused the police to intervene and break up the protest; several dozen people have been arrested.
So these tuition hikes must be quite a large amount of money, right? The proposed increases will raise current tuition costs by 75 percent, making the yearly cost for attending college in Quebec $3,793 instead of the current $2,168.
Whoa, wait a second? Less than $5,000 to attend college for a year? That sounds fantastic to me! However, for around 130,000 students who have walked out of their classes, having a cheap and affordable education is a matter of principle.
Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp told the students who were striking in Quebec that their actions would have consequences.
“The semester could be extended for weeks [if the students keep striking and not attending classes],” she said. “It also means making up classes in the evening.”
Although I understand why the students would want to protest tuition hikes on principle, I really think they should stop protesting and be grateful for what they have. If they really want to see what expensive tuition is like, they can come on over to the USA and attend school in New Jersey.
However, on the other side of the argument, one could say that these students are trying to prevent their higher education system from becoming like that of their southern neighbor’s. Perhaps if students in the USA had started protesting like this when our tuition costs first started raising, a college education in the USA would not land students in thousands dollars of debt or filing for bankruptcy upon graduation.
What are your views on the matter? Share them with us in the comment section below.
Via The Sudbury Star and Winnipeg Free Press