Volume 94, Issue 96

Thursday, March 22, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Queen's Park is pulling a fast one

Editorial Cartoon

Queen's Park is pulling a fast one

The report of the Investing in Students Task Force recently hit the stands with some striking revelations and suggestions about the state of education in Ontario.

Some of the report's findings include statements like: "Maintaining the status quo will not prepare us for the future," "To meet growth needs, additional sources of revenue beyond tuition fees will need to be found," and the profound "Ontario post-secondary institutions face many challenges."

If you flip to the back of the report, you might even find other startling news, such as "Snow is cold," "Guns and alcohol don't mix well," and "Baby pandas are cute."

What the report's findings indicate, in a nutshell, is that post-secondary education in the province is not in the best shape it could possibly be.

Well, duh.

Student and school administrations from all over Ontario have trumpeted the dire state of affairs can be found on their respective campuses for what seems like an eternity. Can the government finally be listening, or is the report simply the government lending token attention to some disgruntled constituents?

To the report's credit, it does have some insightful suggestions. One worthwhile initiative would see schools sharing successful administrative practices. This would foster a collaborative environment between campuses.

For example, if Western found a better way of handling financial aid, they share the 411 with Waterloo, Lakehead, or any other school that might be interested in re-vamping their own process. Another idea in the report involves streamlining the application procedure for post-secondary school applicants, creating a "one-stop-shopping mart" of possibilities for their academic futures.

What the report does not do, is provide a framework for all the recommendations it makes. It neither hints at how much potential changes will cost, or from where the money required to implement the changes will originate.

Things like an easier credit transferring process may sound great on paper, but when scrutinized, can become problematic. What happens if I'm a Trent engineer who wants to transfer to Waterloo? Should my credits count at a school thats got an undisputedly superior program?

An overall analysis of the report indicates the government does have a of the things that are going wrong with post-secondary education. Queen's Park has proved it knows where the problem areas are, and what steps may be necessary to avert total disaster.

But what remains to be seen is whether the government willing to put its money where its mouth is. Cutting costs through streamlining the process is, to a great extent, part of the solution. Still, what the system needs, and has been crying for all along, is more funding.

Until that day, all this report amounts to is the government trying to sell us a shiny Pinto, when we we're asking for a Cadillac.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000