Comment 75864

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted April 11, 2012 at 15:14:11

I'm wholeheartedly with Capitalist on this one: I haven't seen any compelling evidence that universal or near-universal post-secondary education is either productive or desirable.

The shift to an industrial model of PSE delivery has stripped much of the intangible value from schooling: classes are much too big now to let students engage with professors, and professors are increasingly low-wage sessionals who are themselves students; evaluating students relies primarily on easily-graded assignments or multiple-choice tests in lieu of writing challenging essays, and; there is a growing mismatch between the types of degrees offered by schools, desired by students, and those required by the job market.

Saddling an increasing number of young people with tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary debt (average post-secondary debt in Ontario hovers around $25,000 upon grad) is great for guys like McMaster's Peter George, Hamilton's own half-million-dollar-man, because for these guys, growth pads their enormous paycheques.

But maybe we should start asking ourselves if we've reached a natural limit on the number of young people enrolled in tertiary education, and consider the social trade-offs (prolonged adolescence, increased debt at key life-stages, delayed parenthood, delayed/evaporated retirement, job-skills mismatches, etc.).

If some of the training offered by PSE institutions is so important, I think we would be better off finding a way to work it into secondary curricula than expanding a credential system that has transferred the cost of employee training from employers on to students and taxpayers.

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