| Minister vows action vs. McGill

Newly appointed education minister Line Beauchamp is promising action on her predecessor’s pledge to cut McGill’s funding in response to MBA tuition hikes, the minister’s office told The Daily on Friday.

According to Beauchamp’s press officer Dave Leclerc, speaking in French, the education minister is “still reflecting” about her position, but said that “there will certainly be action in the future.”

Last spring, former education minister Michelle Courchesne accused McGill of violating the province’s educational accessibility principles. After McGill increased tuition fees for its MBA program from $1,700 for Quebec residents to $29,500, the Ministry of Education threatened to cut McGill’s funding by $30,000 for every Quebec resident made to pay the higher MBA tuition rate. In the fall, McGill went ahead with its new MBA tuition fees, which now stand at $32,500 a year for the two year program.

Beauchamp replaced Courchesne on August 11. At that time Courchesne had not followed through on her threat.

In her first press conference as education minister on Thursday, Beauchamp stuck to the government’s decision to increase tuition fees for Quebec universities.

“We must absolutely discuss [tuition hikes] in relation to the question of university performance,” she said in French.

The minister also announced plans to hold a series of meetings to address four key issues in the provincial education system: the integration of children with handicaps and learning difficulties in classrooms, university financing, the link between the labour market and technical training, and participation in school board elections.

A meeting concerning university financing slated for sometime this fall – to which roughly a hundred as yet undetermined people will be invited – will examine increasing tuition fees, university performance, accessibility to studies and other potential sources of university funding.