Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lining the wallet

I hope this link is a permalink.

This reeked of propaganda to me the second they compared it to the Health Act, and got worse from there. Standard persuasion technique: health care is good right? This will be like health care.... you LIKE health care.... don't you?

It's appropriate that they compare to health care... because a LOT of money goes into health care. Money is thrown at every which problem. Which sounds a lot like our school's approach to education - get as much money as possible, and our school will be better. Will we spend the money on making the school better? No, we spent it on raises on our top administrators, but we made more money, so things MUST be better... right?

Some of the key phrases in the document lead me to believe that the issue is 100% an attempt to get more money from the government and people of Canada, and nothing about actually changing how education is done here in Canada.

"The premiers and territorial leaders have encouraged the Prime Minister to hold a first ministers' conference this fall with education as the single item on the agenda. "
== We'd like the provincial AND federal government to pay us money.

"with due regard at the higher and more selective levels of institutions for the individual to contribute to or repay the citizens' investment"
== We'd like more deregulated programs, and be allowed to charge them more.
(or, more cynically, we'd like to force our students/alumni to donate to us! okay, it's a bit of a stretch, but if they put even half the effort into making our school work that they did into alumni campaigns, maybe more students would actually want to give back...... it would help if we didn't waste all the money we receive either)

And, recognizing that different people learn best in different ways, the act will emphasize innovative techniques for helping individuals learn to the best of their capacities."
== We'd like you to sponsor us to experiment on guinea pigs... erm.... students.

"to establish itself as the world leader in e-learning"
== We'd like you to sponsor us to teach in ways that don't involve... you know, actually having to hire profs or provide facilities. You know, like where you give us money... and... that's it.
- this is already apparent in the ever-increasing strength of the distance ed program at our school; which itself isn't a bad thing, but perhaps it shouldn't cost as much to listen to a tape made 10 years ago by a prof that's long since retired.

"The act will recognize the social and economic importance of investing in knowledge and in well-educated, highly skilled people by establishing investment goals."
== That's it in the end, isn't it? All this talk, but the MECHANISM will be 100% money.

To do so, we will have to reshape Canada's immigration and visa policies to attract talented people from elsewhere, whether they come as visitors, or decide to stay as citizens, or return to make a contribution in their own countries."
== We don't care if it doesn't benefit Canadians. We'd rather bring in international students, because we can charge them far more (note: yes, I know the gov't doesn't give them the same money for international students, the rates the schools charge more than make up for it).

"A primary role of the government of Canada in this bold initiative will be to harmonize the investment in learning and innovation across Canada and to co-ordinate the efforts of all levels of government, ensuring that the investment is as effective as possible."
== We'd like to make sure we get our share of the moola. We'd like NDP style spending with conservative style freedom on tuition, and we may need to play provinces against each other to get it.

I, for one, have nothing against money.
Money is good, after all. It lets you pay professors, build buildings, upgrade computers, while keeping tuition low for those that can't afford it. However, that money has to be used for something. Something USEFUL, that actually BENEFITS students at these universities. That's what I'd like to see. Not an act that outlines how much more money our school should get, but an act which forces schools like ours to spend the money appropriately.

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