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1. In an earlier chapter in Part I concerning the establishment of a national system of scholarships for both graduates and undergraduates of Canadian universities, the reasons suggested to us for setting up such a system were discussed. These and other reasons, submitted in numerous briefs from many sources, have led us to the view that action should be taken by the Federal Government to provide scholarships at both the post-graduate and undergraduate levels.
2. We have already expressed the opinion that the granting of scholarships to young Canadians is in the public interest and therefore is a national duty. The importance to Canada of scientific research, whether for the defence of our country or for the peaceful development of its resources, must surely be self-evident. It may, however, be not so immediately obvious that an adequate number of competent research workers can be ensured only if suitable provision is made for their training, not only in post-graduate schools or institutions but at the undergraduate level; and this suitable provision must include a wise system of scholarships if Canada is not to lose the contribution to her national well-being which our ablest young people could make, if given some assistance in their education.
3. But quite apart from the material advantages to our country which able research scientists could provide, we believe it right that the national government assist its gifted young citizens who cannot, because of limited means, receive that measure of higher education which their abilities warrant. Recent statistics on this point are depressing: the second report of a committee on education appointed by the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, published in February 1950, emphasized the fact that "out of 100 Canadian children starting school, only 22 finished high school, and only 3 graduated from college"; and that . . . "54 per cent of those who dropped out did so for economic reasons". In 1946, the Ontario Department of Education discovered that only 7 per cent of the young people who had completed their primary and high school education had
registered at a university. To us the disturbing thing is not the percentage but the fact that there is no assurance that this 7 per cent comprises the best qualified students. It is unwise, even dangerous, to allow such large numbers of our young citizens to abandon their studies after primary school if it is only because they cannot afford more education. From a social point of view, the reforms initiated by the government in the last twenty years, in the fields of family allowances and public health, may prove ineffectual and may even be jeopardized unless these reforms are systematically broadened to include assistance in intellectual training. Finally, democratic principles demand that as far as possible equal opportunity be given to all our young people, rural as well as urban. The most effective way to create this equality of opportunity is through a well-devised system of national scholarships.
4. In addition to these fundamental reasons which justify the institution of a system of national scholarships, there are other factors which make assistance to students imperative. An earlier chapter of this Report which refers to the plight of Canadian universities has shown that the rise in their expenses has been accompanied by a decrease in income from endowments, donations and subsidies, and has forced a progressive increase in students' fees. The National Federation of Canadian University Students has informed us that in 1947-48 the average yearly fee was $230, and that it has shown a continuous tendency to rise. Twenty years earlier the fee was less than half this amount. The cost of books has also greatly increased; in addition, students, as all other Canadians, have been affected by the steadily increasing cost of living.
Scholarships in the Natural Sciences
5. We have already referred to the many practical considerations which have prompted the Canadian Government to stimulate and support research in the natural sciences. This support, we have found, is accepted as a duty of the State, a duty which is discharged with funds made available to the National research Council and to certain departments of government. The Council has long since realized that to fulfil its functions it had to help train our scientists; accordingly, the Council established the extensive system of scholarships which we have already described.
We therefore recommend:
In view of the fundamental importance of mathematics and related studies, we suggest that the National research Council give special consideration to scholarships in these fields.
The Humanities, the Social Sciences and Law
6. We have given consideration also to the parallel obligations which in our judgement the Government should assume in fostering the arts, the humanities, the social sciences and law. We believe it to be in the national interest that Canadian efforts in these disciplines should at least equal those in the natural sciences. A correct balance in our national life can be obtained only when students of the humanities enjoy, free from undue financial worry, equally with students in the sciences, the advantages of university education and of opportunities for research. The Federal Government has therefore, we consider, a duty to discharge in providing financial aid to our students in the humanities and in the social sciences in order that they may receive this education. As stated in the brief of the National Conference of Canadian Universities, the technical progress of our civilization tends to emphasize professional and utilitarian training rather than liberal education, and this tendency is very evident at the university level. In our view, graduate scholarships for gifted students in the arts, humanities and social sciences would do much to correct this undesirable emphasis.
We therefore recommend:
7. In the chapter in Part I dealing with national scholarships, we described in some detail the system and the amount of the awards and fellowships now administered by the National research Council. We suggest that the value of the awards for advanced work in the humanities and social sciences should be equivalent to that of the awards made to the students in the sciences at the corresponding level of advanced study. We suggest that there should be awarded eventually about one hundred and fifty annual scholarships for students at the pre-doctoral level, about twenty fellowships for work following the doctor's degree and an appropriate number of scholarships for advanced study in law.
8. We believe that ten special fellowships of a suitable value should be granted for even more advanced study or research in the humanities, the social sciences and law. These should be available only to mature and distinguished scholars who have a definite plan of study to pursue. The amounts could be flexible but should be sufficiently large to cover living, travelling, and other necessary expenses.
We therefore recommend:
It will no doubt be readily understood that such a system of senior fellowships can be made fully effective only over the course of some years, as suitable candidates are found who will be prepared to undertake advanced studies in the humanities, the social sciences and law. It will no doubt be recalled that the National research Council, when it first began to award senior fellowships in the sciences, found that for some years relatively few candidates applied for the fellowships available. We imagine that those charged with the responsibility of administering this new system of fellowships, which is now being proposed, would bear in mind that they may not be able to attain their goal of establishing senior fellowships on a generous scale for a considerable time to come.
Exchange Scholarships with Countries Abroad
9. We observed in Part I of this Report that several countries, including France, Great Britain and the United States, have for many years shown a generosity to Canadian graduate students which might well have inspired us long since to extend corresponding liberality to post-graduate students of these and of other countries.
10. Canada has been singularly negligent in the matter of exchange scholarships. We imagine that others will share our astonishment to learn that, apart from a few National research Council Scholarships, the only country toward which Canada has officially shown generosity in granting exchange scholarships is Iceland.
11. Canada, of course, cannot give to graduate students of the United States the number of scholarships which would establish a system of complete reciprocity. On the other hand, the demands of national dignity impose upon us an obligation to establish a system of scholarships which will enable a certain number of students from abroad to continue their advanced studies in Canada. Canada would thus take part in a permanent programme of international student exchanges at the university level.
We therefore recommend:
12. We understand the term "undergraduates" to mean students who are pursuing in our universities and our colleges a course of studies leading to a degree which will permit them to practise a profession, to enter upon professional studies, or to obtain specialized employment. For the purposes of our study, a student in medicine, in law, in agriculture, in civil engineering, in chemistry or in any other similar field is an undergraduate so long as he has not obtained his professional degree. The same definition applies to a student of history or of literature in the arts faculties of universities of English-speaking Canada, and to students in the final four years in the classical colleges.
13. In an earlier chapter we have mentioned two precedents for federal aid to undergraduates: the Vocational Training Scheme and the
educational assistance for ex-servicemen through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Later, we referred to scholarship practices in England, Australia and in France, and gave a brief account of the principal submissions made to us by representatives of Canadian educational institutions, professional associations, organized labour, and religious and cultural organizations most interested in this problem. Both Canadian schemes mentioned above have given excellent results and both have been made possible by the cordial co-operation of all the Provinces with the Federal Government. We were much interested in the comment of an eminent Canadian authority that no university had been subject to the slighest [sic] influence on the part of the Federal Government throughout the entire operation of the D.V.A. plan of university education for ex-servicemen.
14. It seems to us that the scope of the Vocational Training Plan should be enlarged although, of course, in accordance with the established practice that the Provincial Governments are consulted and are prepared to co-operate in this new arrangement. We believe that it would be useful and desirable, in this matter which concerns the Provincial and Federal Governments and the universities, to establish a new advisory council which would have as its main function the responsibility of advising the Federal Government when policies and administrative practices are under consideration for the proposed system of scholarships, bursaries and loans at the university level. For some years there has been in existence an Advisory Committee on University Training for Veterans which, under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, is composed of representatives of the Federal Government and of the universities; a second committee which includes representatives of the Provincial and Federal Governments advises the Department of Labour on aid to students under the Vocational Training Plan. The new advisory council which we are now proposing would be an innovation only in that its membership would include representatives of all three, Provinces, the Federal Government and the universities.
We therefore recommend:
15. Because students' fees and research grants for special purposes do not pay for the overhead and maintenance costs incurred by the universities, until such time as the Federal Government has provided general assistance to the universities as proposed in Chapter XXI above,
16. We are proposing that the present scheme with which the Federal and Provincial Governments are familiar, and which is operating satisfactorily, be enlarged. As for the number of undergraduates who should thus be aided, we do not think it appropriate to suggest a precise figure, although it is our view that as far as may be possible young persons who have the necessary ability and diligence should receive reasonable assistance to enable them to become more useful citizens.
17. The following plan has been proposed to us and is respectfully suggested for the guidance of the Government and of the agencies which may be charged with the administration of these scholarships:
These proposals have the double merit of attaching special importance to ability and of giving encouragement to able students who have need of assistance. It is estimated that this plan would bring some measure of financial assistance when in full operation to 10,000 Canadian students, that is, to about twenty per cent of the present university population.
18. These awards would also encourage the interprovincial exchange of students, as recommended to us in several submissions. We do not need to elaborate upon the results to be expected from such exchanges.
Provided that they are carefuly organized and wisely directed by the universities themselves, they could make a very important contribution to national unity. Experiments in the interprovincial exchange of students which have been carried out by certain organizations such as the National Conference of Canadian Universities and the National Federation of Canadian University Students have given excellent results. Such exchanges would be usefuly [sic] extended by an adequate plan of national scholarships.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND FELLOWSHIPS IN THE CREATIVE ARTS AND RELATED FIELDS
19. It will have been observed that the plans and recommendations proposed above do not meet the needs of an important group of Canadian citizens, the workers in the creative arts. Most of these are not students, as the term is usually understood, in that they are not enrolled in any of our universities; but they have an equal claim to public assistance and support. It seems to us to be undoubtedly in the national interest that certain of our artists, of our writers or of our musicians, for example, should receive advanced training and experience in countries abroad; and it is true that many of them do, through the generosity of other governments or of private foundations, notably in the United States.1 It would in our view be in keeping with the stature and the dignity of this country that we make awards for work abroad to our own people, whether promising students or established artists, and to gifted artists, musicians and men of letters from abroad, on a reciprocal basis. The system of awards should be broad enough to include journalists and those engaged in such activity as the production of drama, radio programmes or films. For this purpose we have at present in Canada neither a source of funds nor an appropriate administrative body.
We therefore recommend:
* From: Canada. Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences. Report. Ottawa : King's Printer, 1951. By permission of the Privy Council Office.