Trends in Post-secondary Education in Canada and the United States

According to the Global Mail on June 27th 2014, Canadian post-secondary institutions faced number of challenges such as international competition from foreign trained professionals and graduate students, producing marketable graduates for the current labor market needs, and satisfying the diverse interests of graduate students. Furthermore, the news letter published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identified five key challenges faced by American post-secondary institutes. The challenges highlighted by BCG are also applicable to Canadian education sector and they are consistent with the issues touched upon by the Global Mail.

BCG news letter showed that post-secondary institutes in USA faced a substantial reduction in government funding to finance post-secondary education. Although, there is a significant increase in the enrollment rate of post-secondary education in Canada, both Provincial and Federal governments cut down funding for universities and colleges. Currently, governments, policy planners, parents, and graduate students have a high level of concern on the economic profitability of high education. As a result, there is a tendency to reallocate financial resources from the economically less profitable field of studies in to the economically high profitable field of studies. This emerging trend in post-secondary education sector led BC government to re-examine the proposed budgetary allocation for post-secondary education.

As mentioned in the Global mail, producing high skilled marketable graduates is one of the big challenges faced by Canadian post-secondary institutes. As a result, state and private funding agencies always concern about the accuracy and reliability of statistics provided by post-secondary institutes on their enrollment rates, graduation rates, job related competencies, and marketability of graduates.

In recent years, there have been considerable changes in the methods of delivering post-secondary education. Currently, many US and Canadian post-secondary institutes use online education instead of class room based education. Although this strategy reduces the quality of graduate education, it has significantly decreased the unit cost of post-secondary education. In addition, many post-secondary institutes in the world implemented three years degree programs instead of four years degree programs. This approach is known as a mixed method, which includes co-op education and competency based accreditation. As a result, there is a significant decrease in the time that student spend on class room.

In the context of economic globalization, the foreign student enrollment rate has been doubled in both US and Canadian post-secondary institutes during the last twenty years ending 2013. There has been a growing competition from foreign trained faculty members for the faculty positions at research universities. Additionally, accredited US and Canadian post-secondary institutes established their branches in overseas. They also conduct targeted collaborative research projects with partners in developing regions. These changes created significant management challenges for the university administrators.

This is the summary of the article titled “The Changing World of Post-secondary Education” Posted June 30, 2014, by Jack Finlayson



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