SSH News: PSE funding in Ontario and Quebec, the value of SSH in science education, and SSH research in media

Thursday, August 14, 2014


This week in SSH News, Ontario and Québec are both looking towards a more specialized, targeted funding model for institutions of public secondary education. In Ontario, the government unveiled a plan detailing a new funding strategy for universities and colleges, which will force each institution to pick areas of focus and accept that it cannot have it all. The Globe and Mail writes that “[t]he deals are a crucial step in the province’s plan to tailor the postsecondary system more closely to the economy, and save public money by avoiding duplication.”

In Québec, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sport, Yves Bolduc, spoke about revising university funding formulas to better equip programs that need more funding. This will mean more money for programs, like medicine, where training costs are high. He also agrees that reform is needed in CEGEPs, although he has not echoed the Young Liberals’ proposition to abolish them.

The value of including the SSH in science education has been reiterated in India and the US. An editorial in Asian Scientist expressed dismay at the state of the SSH at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITS), none of which offer undergraduate programs in the SSH, focusing instead on training scientists and engineers. The author argues the great value of training the nation’s next historians, philosophers, and economists, and believes that “[b]y evolving into comprehensive institutions, [the IITs] would also in the process become better institutions.”

On a similar note, Elizabeth Simmons (Michigan State University) writes in Inside Higher Ed that teaching science students the humanities is indispensible for their understanding of science and how it impacts society around them. She highlights the historical role than humanistic inquiry has played in shaping modern science, and argues that “[e]very nascent scientist should read, think, and write about how science and society have impacted one another across cultural and temporal contexts.”

SSH research has been making rounds on media this week, providing the valuable insight of scholars into topics as diverse as race and philosophy in South Africa, the shifting living patterns of the LGBT community in the US, and saving the Middle East’s ancient treasures using Twitter.


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