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Quebec can become a leader in distance learning

Montreal, September 29, 2021 – The health measures adopted since the spring of 2020 have forced students to rediscover the pleasures of distance learning. Now that the necessary technological infrastructure is in place, is it feasible for Quebec universities to try to attract a larger international clientele? A publication launched today by the MEI examines how our universities could seize this new opportunity.

“Quebec’s universities, both English and French, enjoy a solid international reputation. This gives us the opportunity to position ourselves as a leader in distance learning,” says Miguel Ouellette, co-author of the publication. “The introduction of a permanent distance learning model in Quebec universities will require increased collaboration between universities and the companies that are already leaders in this field, but it’s clear that it would be worth it.”

“Obviously, if we can attract a larger number of students without increasing the size of in-person classes, it will be a particularly profitable opportunity for our universities, and therefore also beneficial for Quebec taxpayers,” adds Dr. Reuven Brenner, Senior Fellow at the MEI and Professor Emeritus at McGill University. “Of course, certain programs like philosophy, in which debate plays an important role, are more suited to in-person learning, but it would be very beneficial to use distance learning to transmit our knowledge in areas like computer science or artificial intelligence, for example.”

“Even locally, the potential benefits are substantial. Just think of the net migration out of our rural regions, which has persisted since at least the early 2000s. By allowing the young and the less young to study all while remaining in their hometowns, we could help slow the rural exodus and ensure the presence of an even more qualified labour force in these regions,” concludes Maria Lily Shaw, Economist at the MEI.

The publication entitled “How Can Quebec Become a Leader in Distance Learning?” is available on our website.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.


Interview requests: Daniel Dufort, MEI, Phone: 438-886-9919 / Email: ddufort@iedm.org

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