Anthony Gurr VancouverOn Saturday, May 23rd, the Vancouver Sun newspaper published an opinion piece written by Andrew Cohen called “Should We Adopt the Danish Way of Life?”. He wrote about how their society provides free tuition for students who decide to study  at university. Graduate students are also given a  salary if they study for a Master’s or a Doctoral degree. I almost dropped my coffee mug when I read those facts! What an enlightened approach to provide a university education to everyone that wants one! I have always believed that people who want to attend college or university to further themselves should not have to carry massive loads of debt in the process.  As a graduate student, you commit yourself to several years of specialized coursework and training about how to conduct research and engage in academic writing. The research thesis is the final test. It’s a demanding, rigourous assignment that isn’t for the faint hearted. Paying graduate students a salary is not only generous, it shows an appreciation and understanding of the commitment they’re making to their course of studies. Educated people are a society’s most valuable resource.

I was moved to write a letter to the editor about Cohen’s op-ed piece. Imagine my surprise to see it published in today’s edition of the Sun. You can read my letter here:

Canada Could do More for its Graduate Students

I think this passage from Chaucer’s literary masterpiece The Canterbury Tales sums up my thoughts about being a graduate student:

Yet, and for all he was philosopher,
He had but little gold within his coffer;
But all that he might borrow from a friend
On books and learning he would swiftly spend,
And then he’d pray right busily for the souls
Of those who gave him wherewithal for schools.
Of study took he utmost care and heed.
Not one word spoke he more than was his need;
And that was said in fullest reverence
And short and quick and full of high good sense.

Doctor ArkanoidDoctor Arkanoid