The Parti Québécois government has announced a proposal to invest almost $1.7 billion in university budgets over the period of next seven years. The heavyhearted proposal has been tabled during the ongoing debates at the province’s higher education summit this afternoon. The proposal suggests the budgets of universities to have a gradual increase in progression, although majority of the universities will not be receiving any of the increased budgets until 2015. The PQ’s proposal still suggests a budget with already planned cuts to universities for the next two years.
Coalition Avenir Québec leader, François Legault, mentioned that the planned cuts of the next two years are “the elephant in the room.” Few hours past the commencement of the long-awaited higher education summit, the Quebec government has already committed to create a provincial university council. The recommendation was endorsed by several groups present at the meeting, showing their support for the formation of a council which will oversee the quality and governance of post-secondary education in Quebec. Quebec’s higher education summit was officially inaugurated by the Quebec Premier, Pauline Marois, and Higher Education Minister, Pierre Duchesne. It is aimed to put at rest all the issues at the core of last spring’s student crisis.
So far, the Quebec government has made three potential suggestions, which will be taken up for debate in the coming two days of the summit, namely adopting a law to create a framework for universities; creating a provincial council of universities; and reviewing universities’ accountability in their budgets Marois mentioned that “the higher education summit was one of my first commitments when I was elected. It is an occasion to turn over a new leaf and move forward together. The following two days will be very important. We will define the basis of Quebec’s future.”
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