COVID19 Response: Building Higher Learning Resilience in the Face of Epidemics
Visit project page
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into light a fundamental vulnerability that is currently inherent to higher learning institutions: food and housing insecurity that was already negatively impacting students and faculty’s ability to optimally learn, teach, and do research. Cooperatives have the potential to help higher learning become more resilient in the face of epidemics by creating conditions for belonging, accessible knowledge, caregiving and food and shelter security.
COVID-19 will likely result in a decline in revenue for the post-secondary sector. Recent analysis point to the likelihood of a dramatic decline in the number of international students, on which many universities rely. Government and philanthropic funding are also likely to decline.During this time of uncertainty, we have an opportunity to decrease inequity rather than amplify it. Cooperatives have a track record of success.
Currently, the post-secondary sector relies heavily on large corporate providers (e.g. for library resources, food services); however, cooperatives are more in line with the values most universities espouse concerning community engagement, lifelong learning, democratic governance, equity and sustainable fiscal and environmental management. Furthermore, coops have a proven track record of success in many sectors. Excluding financial cooperatives, there are 7887 cooperatives in Canada collectively provide over 85,000 full and part-time jobs. This working group will bring insights from diverse fields to understand the challenges and possibilities of expanding ways of governing higher education.