Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
The big news here in New Brunswick is the release of the government's new post-secondary education plan. I just finished reading it. It is in general unimaginative. This represents the problem with establishing policy by 'stakeholder' consultation. Some of the things I agree with. Some I don't:
- I don't disagree with the creation of Polytechs. I think they'll serve a useful function.
- I don't disagree with cutting the satellite campuses. NB has a tendency to spread things out too much.
- the ND PSE Commission is essentially a provincial accreditation board, and hence reasonable.
- I would have gone further and made the four remaining instances of NBCC separate institutions, which their own (self-chosen) names.
- I think there should be tuition cuts, but I support the conversion of loans to grants.
- I support spending an additional $50 million on the PSE system.
- I support requiring private institutions to satisfy quality requirements.
- I am disappointed that distance education merited only a couple of paragraphs, and online learning no mention at all (they didn't even spell 'Athabasca' correctly).
- I think NB would have been better off setting up an independent DE institution, because UM and UNB won't support distance education - this is evident even in the commission's remarks, that "care should be taken not to duplicate an educational opportunity that already exists in a cost-effective and accessible manner" which by definition for these institutions is all of them.
- We need to continue the emphasis on attracting international students, especially through online and distance learning.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Nov 28, 2021 1:23 p.m.