Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Dismantling of Post-Secondary Education in Canada - Part 1

Canada has an excellent post-secondary education system. Canadian university researchers are at the forefront globally, making discoveries in areas as diverse as neuroscience, innovative communication technologies, forest entomology, distance education, immunology, genetic markers of various cancers, learning disabilities, climate change, new approaches to qualitative inquiry, and indigenous orality and literature.

Our universities and community colleges offer students a wide range of choices in their chosen degree paths, and an opportunity to pursue their education in a post-secondary system that is of high quality and that provides broad access. No matter where in this large and rugged land a person lives, he or she can obtain trades or technical training, or the first two years of university study at a local community college. Cities over 50,000 have a public university or branch campus, and many large cities have more than one comprehensive public university and several colleges, technical schools, and private post-secondary institutions.

Perhaps because of its geography, Canada also is a leader on the world stage in its development of university distance learning. Although university in Canada is not free, it is very affordable, and there is a well-developed scholarships system and government student loans program. Canadian universities also are becoming an increasingly attractive destination for international students, as their high quality affordable degree programs, great student services, and welcoming environments have been recognized.

Canada's excellent post-secondary system can be credited with the success of the Canadian knowledge and technology economy. Through knowledge transfer from basic and applied research in universities to our businesses, industries, and social institutions, Canadians enjoy a thriving economy, a great standard of living, good health, high levels of literacy, and global prominence. Because of the quality of our universities, Canadian scientists, teachers, doctors, nurses, and business leaders are well regarded and can work all over the world.

We have done a great job in Canada of building a world class post-secondary system. So why would anyone want to dismantle and destroy it? Good question. Stay tuned for part 2.

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