According to Canada’s Constitution, education is under provincial jurisdiction; but Ottawa has intruded deeply into this field—as it has in health and other social fields—through funding tied to policy-manipulation.
One result has been the consolidation of a militant secularist hegemony within the national Education Establishment, violating the principle in the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” (Article 24, Sec. 3).
The CHP’S Better Solution:
The CHP would direct approximately 80% of federal post-secondary funding into tuition vouchers sent directly to qualified students; this would increase competition among post-secondary institutions for students’ tuition dollars, which would both bring down costs and stimulate true intellectual liberty. Such an agreement would, however, have to be negotiated with the provinces, to respect their constitutional jurisdiction.
Since taxpayers already pay close to 80% of the cost of post-secondary education, the central problem is really not that the government is not doing enough. The problem for students is the amount of student debt they incur and the repayment schedule. The CHP proposes that student loans be interest-free and repayment-free for ten years after graduation, to allow grads to get well-established in their chosen career fields before they begin repaying their share of their tuition.
It has become a nearly universally-accepted dogma that all young people need to attend college or university in order to lead active, successful lives. While post-secondary education is essential for many careers and important to a large segment of the population, many families enjoy satisfying, comfortable lives without a university background. The extra years of schooling are not for everybody. For those who do choose to build a career through academic training, certainly the costs and the time spent should be commensurate with the career opportunities available upon completion.
Young people planning to attend a post-secondary institution should be aware of the significant costs involved and the commitment of time and energy required to complete their courses of study. Many young people have been able to balance their work and studies so as to eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of student-loan debt at graduation.
Also, the curriculum content of the academic establishment needs to be challenged. Many post-secondary institutions have allowed frivolous and even dangerous social theory to become part of the curriculum, bringing the cost of education unnecessarily higher than it should be if they had remained focused on the disciplines designed to produce marketable skills. Endless offerings of “gender studies” and other misguided courses have not raised the academic bar but have become a lever prying serious young adults from traditional concepts of marriage and family and pushing them away from formal commitments and responsible parenthood.
All these factors need to be taken into account when assessing the current needs of students and the institutions that serve them. As long as the colleges and universities can count on government handouts and students are willing to accept huge debt loads to pay for courses which will not result in marketable skills or social improvement, the plethora of destructive philosophies and attacks on legitimate free speech will continue, degrading the post-secondary experience and leaving students with crushing debt as they seek to begin their families and careers.