Post-secondary education is the great equalizer. It gives us all a chance to reach higher no matter where we come from or whatever our background. Both of my parents came from very modest upbringings and saw a university degree as a ticket to a good job and an entry to Ontario’s middle class. They, in turn, placed a high importance on post-secondary education and encouraged my sister and I to follow in their footsteps.
There is a lot about Ontario’s colleges and universities that we can be proud of, but we need to ensure our students are getting the best value for their tuition. In Ontario today, we see far too many students graduate with degrees and deep debts who can’t find a job.
We are spending a lot more money as a province, but we aren’t seeing the results. Government funding has
increased by 84% since 2003, yet Ontario universities are slipping in international rankings, tuition keeps rising, new graduates keep heading out West and there are many jobs in the skilled trades that can’t be filled.
This has got to change. We need to make the necessary changes to ensure our schools are the best in the world at preparing students for a career. The key will be incenting excellence, harnessing market forces, encouraging specialization and being honest.