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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

green university

As we continue our analysis of the federal parties Post-Secondary Education platforms, we would like to welcome everyone to the Faculty of Platitudes! (aka: the Green Party of Canada PSE policies...)

In their recently released main policy document, the Green Party has lived up to their name and proved that they are green in the PSE policy arena (nyuk nyuk nyuk...). Not a very good PSE policy package, it sits on the extremely vague side of the scale on just about every point.

In the document, they left us with six main PSE points... and not much to analyze...

Here it is...

"166. Work with provinces and higher learning institutions to reduce post-secondary tuitions."

Okay. This sounds fine and we're assuming it means giving the provinces more money for PSE. Dedicated transfer? Vague.

"167. Boost participation in cooperative education programs and apprenticeships."


"168. Encourage more hands-on learning in our post-secondary education system."

Really vague... We would seriously like to know what "Hands-on learning" means... does this mean anything at all?

"169. Harmonize government programs such as the Millennium Scholarship Fund to provide a single need-based grant program to reduce student debt."

We agree that harmonization of programs is good for efficiency, but we have a suspicion that our definition of harmonization and their definition of harmonization may be different. Tones more needs-based grants are needed, but we need more details.

"170. Increase investments in post-secondary education and ensure that public funding plays a major role in research and development initiatives."

Sounds good. But vague.

Well, in our professional opinion, the Greens have definitely dropped the ball on this policy area...

As well, the Globe and Mail has released some of the details of the Liberal PSE policy, which is supposed to be released tomorrow. We're not going to comment on the details from the story; we'll wait until it's actually released before we do the critiquing.

(As well, be sure to check out our take on the Conservative PSE policy and an NDP PSE announcement.)


Art Hornbie said...

A green university!? Now there is a quaint idea. Still, if I had my druthers I'd go for an Intentional Community, instead. As you know, the universities these days are not proving a whole lot while a decent holistic control group could "prove" a whole bunch.
It's not like the greens are going to form a government this time around but I'm all for a free education (#166) and I can tell you that I'd vote for that, and I'm green.

Mark Richard Francis said...

Perhaps if we Greens could finally have a policy convention...

We still haven't nailed down sufficient policy wonks and budget (perhaps) to really get some numbers in play.

Anyway, Green democratic and decentralist principles really place education policy in the hands of provinces. Canada's constitution makes it hard for the feds to lower tutition as they really have to bribe the provinces to do it.

Sending a large tax credit to students could work to offset tutition, however unscrupulous provinces can take advantage of that and raise tuition to absorb the grants.

Lex Luthor said...

I'm with Mark [Section 15] in the notion that PSE is much more of a provincial issue and the best the Feds can do is encourage the provinces to do better.

Tax credits for students is pointless seeing that most students don't make enough money for tax credits to be useful.

I'm hoping (and doing what pushing I can from inside the GPC) that Canada takes a good look at the Irish model for education. By identifying shortages in specific sectors, they opened those programs up with free tuition and the condition that graduates stay in the country for 5 years. The end result was a higher educated population and an economy that was dramatically turned around. This is the main reason that the Irish economy is constanly referred to as the "Celtic Tiger".