Friday, June 15, 2018

Corporate Greed is Destroying College Education

Extracts from: Report on Education in Ontario Colleges

Globalization has also impacted the functioning of Ontario community colleges, and has manifested in a scramble by colleges to attract international students to Canadian campuses.

The 2005 Rae Report, noted that colleges and universities are attracting higher numbers of international students, and maintained that the institutions “need to do a better job of marketing the opportunities provided in our colleges and universities to students from other countries”.

 International students are charged much higher tuition fees than domestic students, making them attractive to cash-strapped colleges. However, attracting students with specialized educational needs, particularly concerning ESL instruction, is simultaneously contradicted by the fact that many colleges are cutting language services, increasing class sizes, and cutting support for foreign students. This contradiction has led faculty at several colleges to question the ethics of international student recruitment, as students are being “ripped off” by receiving a sub-standard educational experience.

The desire to profit from international student tuitions is also leading community colleges to partner with private, for-profit corporations in opening satellite campuses in Ontario.   Questions of quality education at these private, for-profit colleges have been raised by faculty.

At several colleges, faculty locals were dealing with very serious and troubling instances in which individual professors, counselors or librarians were targeted by managers for personal reasons. At some colleges this involved managers manipulating workloads so that full-time faculty with considerable seniority would suddenly hear that “there was no work for them anymore”.

In grievance procedures initiated by targeted faculty, managers have been citing their right to allocate workloads as they see fit, even if this means that a full-time faculty member with seniority is eliminated. Even though the faculty member grieved the termination and was awarded a settlement, he did not return to teaching. This experience was cited by several other faculty at the same college as an example of management intimidation, and its effect has been to silence faculty complaints.

Faculty sense that they are being deliberately marginalized and devalued by management, and disrespected as professionals and as experts in their field. This sense, coupled with a fear of losing one’s job, have led many faculty to feel disillusioned and cynical regarding administration’s concern for quality education, collegiality, and student success. Increasingly, faculty speak of being cogs in “the business of education”, and perceive that management is attempting to deliberately deskill and demoralize professors, counselors, and librarians.

Read the full report here: