FPSE Education Policy Committee Member Report to TRUFA Annual General Meeting 2017
The trend in higher education across BC has steadily moved toward the corporate model in the last 25 years. Across the province, we have witnessed the bloating of administration, at the expense of other aspects of our institutional, educational, and ethical well-being. More recently, we have concomitantly witnessed a substantial increase in the enrolment of international students in BCs public colleges and universities. For example at TRU, administration is aiming for one third of our students to be international students. Across the province, FPSE has heard reports from all of our member institutions that many of these foreign students continue to lack sufficient language, literacy, social support, and/or scholastic skills to succeed in university transfer courses. However, university administrators are allowing these ill-equipped foreign students admission to our institutions of higher learning even though they know they are setting them up for failure. The common term for this practice in business is “Cash Cow.”
From a corporate perspective, because of inflated tuition rates, this is indeed very good business. From an ethical perspective, this is just wrong. From an educational perspective, the state of affairs poses major transdisciplinary pedagogical challenges for all faculty concerned. The state of affairs also adds significantly to faculty workload and stress. Finally and indeed perhaps, most importantly, this state of affairs fails to serve the best interests of all of our students. Shame!
What we needed was a consolidated battle plan at the provincial level to turn the tide of this shameful practice. Thank you Stephen Phillips, Local #14 for your brilliant resolution on International Education that was pushed forward at the committee level by our Local #2 representative. This resolution submitted at the FPSE Education Policy Committee during its February session in Vancouver passed unanimously. It read as follows: Therefore let it be resolved that FPSE calls on college administration, education councils, and faculty to work together to take all and any such steps as may be required to ensure that our international students either have on their arrival in Canada, or acquire after their arrival, sufficient language, literacy, and scholastic skills to meet the requirements of university transfer courses before they are admitted to such courses.
I feel that this is the single most important pedagogical best practices challenge that the FPSE Education Policy Committee has had to come to terms with this year. Some believe we have already lost the battle. I believe the struggle continues.
Respectfully Submitted in Solidarity,
Chris Montoya (Local # 2: Member FPSE Education Policy Committee