One of the big news stories today in Montréal and the province of Québec are the student protests over the hiking of post-secondary educational institutions. The government plans to increase tuition fees by 325$ a year, every year until 2016 in order to better fund these institutions. Today, many students are outside these institutions, holding signs and forming chains to prevent people from getting in. As an avid listener of CJAD, I was floored to hear one protester saying that some students tried to get in to the buildings in order to go to class, that a few had gotten in and, this is what did it for me, he called them “closed-minded”.

Please excuse me as I step up onto my soapbox for just a few minutes (or get up on my high horse, whichever you prefer).

Why call some of the students, with their minds set to go to class, trying their best to brave a wall of another group of students with their intentions set on DENYING THEM OF THEIR PAID RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION considered closed-minded? Is it simply because they are not of the same opinion as another group? That, my friend, is being closed-minded. HYPOCRITE!!! *steps off box/horse*

Having been a student just a few years ago, living outside of home, paying for part of my tuition/books (although my parents did help me with educational fees – Alhamdullilah), I still held a part-time job throughout my studies and saved as much as I could to pay for the things I needed. Yes, I took on some debt but studies show that I most likely make more than those who didn’t get a post-secondary education. Basically, I invested into my future.

Students in this province seem to fail to realize that tuition fees here are much lower than in other provinces. Current tuition fees are around $2100 per year (2 semesters). With the hike, the fees would go up to $3700 per year by 2016. The rest of Canada charges approximately $4000 per year and the US… well I rather not think about it. While I do agree that the hike is quite steep for such a short implementation (I would have suggested by 2020), I do understand why these institutions need these hikes – Underfunded institutions (of any kind) eventually turn out a lower-quality product. An underfunded hospital may not be able to hire 5 great surgeons – instead, they hire only 3 great surgeons and overwork them until they either make mistakes or go on burnout. Post-secondary institutions need to fund not only their teachers/professors, but they also need to pay for the maintenance of their campuses as well as pay other forms of staff and student programs.

I personally find that a lot of students in this province seems to have this sense of entitlement “everything is owed to me, I haven’t done anything in life yet, but I DESERVE to be spoon fed everything I desire!”. A we Francophones would say “Donné dans le bec tout cuit!”. Perhaps if these students god part-time jobs, asked for low-interest government loans, didn’t go out drinking with their buddies on a weekly basis and actually practiced good money-saving and handling habits, then people wouldn’t get so bloody irritated any time students started whining!

My advice to all students:
1- Get a job!
2- Get a low-interest government loan (you don’t get paid any interest until a few months after you get your degree!)
3- Stop wasting your money on stupid things you don’t really need
4- There’s no shame in asking your parents for help. If you’re not yet in a post-secondary institution but are considering attending one sometime in the future, ask your parents if they’d be willing to start up a fund for you, or help you set up a special savings fund on your own.

Here are some articles about the protests if you’d like to read more:
CTV Montreal
The Globe and Mail