08 March 2012

Polytechnics Canada: The Missing Link in the Evolution of Education

Alex Usher's blog post on Canada’s Universities of Applied Sciences today makes some excellent points about the emergence of the Polytechnic education - what he terms a limnal space between colleges and universities. It is worth noting that NAIT is in fact a member of Polytechnics Canada. He makes a very useful distinction in the use of the term University of Applied Science, but it may be more useful to remediate the term polytechnic. At Polytechnics Canada we are working hard to advocate for this form of education as a key driver of the innovation economy. It is worth noting that the 9 Polytechnics graduate about 50000 people per year, and about 22% of these have university credentials already. This complicates somewhat a very useful statistic regarding OECD Type A (university) and Type B (vocational education): Canada is number one in the world for post secondary education attainment, only when colleges are included.

Key here is our focus on applied research and applied education - a learning by doing model that promotes advanced innovation skills in lock step with advancing social and economic productivity in the country. These themes were part of my recent discussion with BNN's Michael Hainsworth.

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