Monday, September 24, 2012

Streamlining postsecondary education?

The idea of Ontario moving—perhaps I should say returning—to three-year bachelor degrees is one who’s time has come, at least, in this writer’s view. In an essay published yesterday on his blog—an excellent website, I might add—Werner Patels gives a thoughtful summary of why this would be a useful move on the part of the Ontario government.

Only a few years back, many major universities offered degrees for three-year undergraduate programs. In Canada, however, and especially in Ontario, the three-year degree has been in decline since the 1960s. About a decade ago, for example, the University of Toronto abolished its three-year bachelor degrees. And, by last fall, just 44 programs at eight universities in Ontario offered three-year degrees.

The Ontario government seems set to reverse this trend and follow the lead of jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and Australia. A return to three-year degrees would move students more quickly to two-year masters and three-year PhD programs, or out into the workforce where they are badly needed.

And the cost to Ontario taxpayers would drop on a per-student basis—as has happened in Europe and in Australia, where student test-score performance is above the OECD average, at least, according to David Olive of the Toronto Star.

This seems like a sound idea to me. I’d like to see Tim Hudak get behind and support this important initiative.

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