Royal Military College cited by Auditor General for inefficiency

University District

Kingston’s Royal Military College has come under fire for its operation costs and performance compared to civilian universities

Kingston's Royal Military College.
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Released on Nov. 21, a report by Canada’s Auditor General Michael Ferguson has revealed serious fiscal and performative issues at Kingston’s Royal Military College. 

Ferguson’s report claims it’s twice as costly to train and educate potential military personnel at Royal Military College (RMC) as at a civilian university. In addition, the report said there’s no noticeable difference between officers trained at the military college and elsewhere after they enter the service. 

“The higher costs were partly attributed to the higher standards that the Royal Military College of Canada set for its graduates,” the report read. “However, National Defence could not demonstrate that these standards resulted in more effective military officers. Furthermore, the Royal Military College of Canada’s governance structure failed to integrate military and academic objectives.”

Ferguson also said RMC’s operating costs were approximately $91.9 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year. The costs equate to $55,000 per full-time student, making RMC “the highest per-student cost in the country.”

“In our opinion, the number of degree programs offered and the low student-to-faculty ratio are major factors that contributed to this high cost,” the report claimed. 

According to the report’s recommendations, “National Defence should explore ways to reduce the Royal Military College of Canada’s operating cost per student and consider reducing the number of programs offered.”

The Auditor General’s report isn’t the only challenge RMC has faced this year. In March, a major 227-page report was released examining several suspected suicides and allegations of sexual misconduct at the college. 

The report prompted Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance to bring the college under his control. Since then, Vance has been responsible for implementing the dozens of recommendations outlined in the major report.

According to CBC, Vance told reporters in March, “I am delighted to report there is no one single cause for concern.” He added, “but I think it’s fair to say periodically an institution as important as RMC needs a really close look to make sure we are really delivering to the future of the armed forces.”

Between May and August of 2016, three cadets were suspected of taking their own lives. Two of those cadets were found dead on RMC campus only two weeks apart.

“Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to those that seek or want to seek assistance as many are concerned about being perceived as being weak or having a problem if they do solicit help,” the sexual misconduct report said.

According to the report, “the negative stressors centered on inconsistent leadership within the Training and Cadet Wings.”

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