Canadian students protest cost of education

The Canadian Federation of Students in Nova Scotia reacted when the government announced that they would be cutting funding to colleges by four percent.

Recently on a snowy day in Canada, college students hit the streets carrying signs that read, “Reduce fees, drop debt.” Another handmade sign succinctly summarized their purpose on the street as it read, “Education shouldn’t be a privilege.”

What really underscores the difference between American colleges and Canadian colleges is the cost. While it is not unusual for college tuition in America to be between $40,000-50,000 a year, tuition in Canada usually costs less than $20,000 a year.

This difference in cost begs the question: who values higher education more?

It is true that value can be measured by cost. Products that are considered better quality are nearly always more expensive. Therefore it could be assumed that colleges in America must be of a higher caliber than those in Canada.

It could be true, yet few would argue that colleges in Canada, such as McGill University and the University of Toronto, are any less prestigious than private schools in the US.

Community colleges present an alternative to the crazy costs of private and state schools, but they also carry less weight in a resumè.

Few would deny that they would rather admit that they went to an Ivy League school than the community college down the street. Community colleges appear to carry less value than other higher education options because they cost less.

Americans seem to take the literal value, i.e. how much it costs to directly represent its worth. By doing so, Americans alienate a part of the population who see higher education as too expensive and therefore unattainable or unnecessary.

Education then becomes just another commodity that stratifies our society.  Americans clearly value education, but at the same time do not believe it is necessary for all members of society.

Canadians represent a different way of valuing school systems. Higher education should be represented as a norm, not as an opportunity for the elite.

By fighting for lower costs, Canadians are expressing their opinion that higher education should be available to a much wider part of the population.

As it stands, America is making a statement that higher education does not need to be offered to all.

Students who can afford higher education, and especially those who can afford an expensive education, often forget that there are people who do not even consider college after high school.

Students who can afford higher education should not ignore their counterparts. Lack of education affects the country as a whole, and we have a civic duty to make sure a higher and equally valued education is available to all.

Canadian students engage the government in protest because they value the cumulative education of all of their citizens.

If higher education was truly valued, then US schools and the government would find ways to make education accessible to everyone.

If colleges in Canada can operate on thousands dollars less, than surely American colleges can find ways to cut costs.