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The quality and performance of Quebec’s universities is threatened


Published: 7Sep2010

McGill seeks a major reinvestment in higher education and a more modern approach to relations between government and universities.

If Quebec wants to maintain the quality and diversity of its university network, everyone must work vigorously to make education the province’s top priority, McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said in a presentation to the National Assembly’s Parliamentary Commission on Culture and Education today.

“We firmly believe that Quebec deserves to have many universities that stand among the best in the world, each imbued with its own mission,” Prof. Munroe-Blum said.

McGill’s appearance before the committee is part of an accountability process in which the leaders of Quebec’s universities are called before the legislature every three years to discuss their performance and their plans for development and advancement in the years to come. As well as answering questions from members of the committee, universities submit a detailed report of their activities.

McGill focused its presentation on three themes: its considerable contribution to Quebec society, the fragile nature of its successes and the need for Quebec to modernize its relations with its network of universities.

Prof. Munroe-Blum underlined the growing disparity between the financial resources enjoyed by universities with which McGill competes when it comes to the level of government investment in research – where Quebec has been losing more and more ground – as well as the issue of tuition fees.

“A totally new university financing model has to include a policy that would gradually bring Quebec tuition fees to the Canadian average, along with the earmarking of a substantial portion of net tuition revenues to increases in student financial aid,” she explained.

As well, McGill believes the government has taken the wrong path in its legislative approach through Bill 100 and the proposed Bill 38 on university governance. 

The government’s centralized approach to holding each university to account “will harm the universities’ quality, efficiency and performance.”

Instead, McGill proposes that partnership agreements between the government and each university be established, and that through these the financial resources accorded a university would be tied to its achievement of predefined strategic objectives – a model increasingly seen elsewhere in the world. 

Joining Prof. Munroe-Blum for this presentation were Stuart H. Cobbett, Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors; McGill Provost Anthony C. Masi; and Pierre Moreau, the University’s Executive Director of Planning and Institutional Analysis.

View the text of McGill’s entire report.

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Julie Fortier
Associate Director, Media Relations
julie [dot] c [dot] fortier [at] mcgill [dot] ca
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