28 February 2008

Education inventory a good idea

The Council of Ministers of Education met earlier this week to discuss post-secondary education. Among the news items reported was their interest in configuring "a data-collection system to measure the gaps between the skills Canadian workers will need in the future and the postsecondary-education system's capacity to provide them." Here's a good idea for finding a way of ensuring that we have a responsive educational system.

This issue came up at the ACCC Applied Research Symposium, held in Edmonton this past week. The point is that Colleges and Polytechnics offer a nimble environment for applied research to be conducted in close concert with industry needs. In theory these projects are integrated in the curriculum, giving students practical field work in solving problems, integrated within the scope of their learning. Our ability to respond thus is contingent on funding models for applied research, and the recent NSERC CCIP (which was discussed at the Symposium) is indeed intended to enable more industrial R&D to take place. As Canada does a poor job overall with R&D spending, fostering a responsive education system that can also serve the needs of industry problem-solving would be a good way to encourage growth in our productivity. It certainly can't hurt.

No comments: