SSMU plans for McGill education summit move forward
Summit will encourage student feedback on issues to be discussed at provincial education summit in early 2013
On Oct. 22, members of La Table de Concertation Étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ) met for a preliminary meeting in Quebec City to discuss the upcoming Quebec education summit, which the provincial government has slated to occur in early 2013. As the provincial summit draws closer, McGill students are also working to organize campus discussions of key issues regarding education.
TaCEQ is a federation of students associations—of which the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) is a member—that aims to promote the interests of Quebec students regarding post-secondary education. Other members of TaCEQ include Laval University and Sherbrooke University.
“Universities are crucial for the future development of Quebec,” TaCEQ General Secretary Paul-Émile Auger said in a press release in French. “It is necessary to identify the real issues and get to the heart of the challenges facing post-secondary education. The actors who will tackle this challenge will put forward the interests of Quebec … this is the only way we can identify priorities for the future.”
While the Quebec education summit is still in its preliminary planning stages, and does not yet have a definite date, SSMU Vice-President External Robin Reid-Fraser said that SSMU is moving ahead with plans for an education summit at McGill. This would consist of several events taking place throughout November.
On Oct. 19, Reid-Fraser met with executives from the undergraduate societies for law, music, science, arts and science, and physical and occupational therapy to discuss the roles that faculties could play in McGill’s summit.
Reid-Fraser said the discussion resulted in a goal to have smaller, more informal events hosted by faculties during the first few weeks of November. Following these events, Reid-Fraser will bring a list of themes to SSMU council, which will represent the main topics students want to see discussed at the education summit. SSMU would also use these themes as the basis for a series of formal sessions that will resemble last year’s Strategic Summits.
“Most of [the faculty executives] feel like their members wouldn’t necessarily come to a big, structured SSMU [event] but might be down to stop in for coffee and a chat,” Reid-Fraser said. “They can at least start to get a bit more of a sense of the issues that their members are thinking about.”
Reid-Fraser also expressed hope for an interactive website or blog that McGill students could access during the events, although this is still in preliminary stages.
SSMU will then compile the information collected at McGill events into a document which they may either present to TaCEQ, or to the Quebec education summit itself, if SSMU is invited to participate.
Finola Hackett, president of the Bachelor of Arts and Science Integrative Council (BASiC), said BASiC Vice-President External has been holding office hours to hear students’ opinions on tuition increases and other topics of discussion for the Quebec education summit.
“It’s important for us to get a good idea of what BA.Sc. students’ views on the issues are before taking further steps on BASiC’s involvement in the summit,” she said.