Education shouldn't be a zero-sum game

Andrew Parkin, Academica, Apr 17, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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Is Canada really over-emphasizing university graduation? It has one of the highest rates of university and post-secondary education completion rates in the world: "In Canada, 50% of the adult population has completed tertiary education, easily the highest rate in the OECD." But a recent report for the Canadian Council on Chief Executives recommended cutting back on university degrees. "Canada could dramatically improve the quality of university education by cutting enrolment as much as 25 to 30 per cent," wrote Ken Coates. But it's not clear exactly what problem this solves. As Andrew Parkin writes in Academica, "Canada does not look at all like a country that has over-emphasized university education to the detriment of colleges," he writes. "The problem is not an over-emphasis on universities but an under-emphasis on any and all forms of postsecondary education and training." And it's not clear that a more open admissions policy in either system acts to the detriment of either quality or outcome. Quite the opposite: a wider admissions policy lessens our reliance on testing and enables those without the advantages of socio-economic status find an environment where they can thrive and flourish - people like me. Image: Herald Sun.

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