In an article in the National Post, reporter Tristin Hopper explores the phenomenon of the devaluation of university degrees and quotes a variety of experts on the subject, including Macdonald-Laurier Institute senior fellow Ken Coates.
Hopper writes about Prince Andrew’s year-end remarks that too many Britons equate attending university with workplace training. Hopper writes:
The situation is similarly grim in Canada. Fifty-one per cent of Canadian adults achieved “tertiary qualification” — the highest among OECD countries. At the same time, in this ever-expanding pool of degree-holders, Canada also tops OECD rankings for the largest share of these graduates making less than the national median income.
Coates, who is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy in Saskatchewan and author of “Campus Confidential”, wrote to the Post:
“Unless you believe that all students are equally talented — that we live in Lake Wobegon — then obviously we are bringing more and weaker students into the system.”
Add to that worsening student-teacher ratios, a heavier reliance on sessional instructors and university grade inflation, he says, and “it is fairly obvious that the quality of the experience has suffered profoundly.”
“Sadly, universities do not often live up to their … aspirations as places to think, learn and teach,” wrote Mr. Coates.