22 October 2012

Why we need colleges, polytechnics and universities

Charles Pascal has an excellent article in the Globe's Our Time to Lead feature on Re:Education, called Students lose in Ontario’s postsecondary patchwork, in which he aptly describes the need for a range of education options that work as a system. He refers primarily to Ontario, but it could easily apply to Canada as a whole, as I pointed out in my recent op-ed on open source learning. This is further reinforced by the weekend's article What Canada needs: A national strategy for students. The exemplary thinking here on important issues facing Canada come as we stare down the need to up our game in the innovation economy. It is time for Canada to get on par with our OECD counterparts and take seriously the connections between social and economic prosperity and instrumentality in education  It is time to rethink how teaching and research function to instill innovation skills in our graduates  And it is time to embrace what Pascal calls the "galloping elitism" that makes us eschew the necessary technical and vocational skills and undergraduate teaching as we privilege the a priori in a global race for talent and R&D impact. The  Globe series - and Pascal's read of the Ontario education system - should be required reading for all involved in education, teaching and research. 

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