Navigating Changes in Advanced Education
The 'transformational' changes to Alberta's Advanced Education system announced today by the UCP government are a mix of logical and untested ideas with little detail provided regarding their long term ramifications.
These policies are clearly based on the MacKinnon report and the path chosen by Ontario's Ford government, and a focus on institutional accountability to the public that funds the system is admirable.
Knowledge-based programs, however, may face what amounts to punitive measures depending on the final details of the new funding criteria.
No one disagrees that Albertans want to get high-quality education at a reasonable cost, but eliminating funding for work experience, internships, and development of next-generation industries leaves Alberta behind other countries and even other provinces.
This initial policy release shows a worrying instance of a government dictating how post-secondary institutions should structure their programs.
Alberta Party Shadow Minister for Advanced Education Myles Chykerda:
"Governments of any type are notoriously bad at predicting job market trends, and Alberta saw this first hand in the early 2000s when computer and program-related programs were highly promoted until the dot com crash completely reshaped demand overnight.
Anyone who studied the USSR in social studies can see the link between this sort of job quota system and Soviet-era central economic planning. It is not the role of government to dictate choice to individuals living in a free and democratic society."
The Alberta Party has long advocated for a more stable funding model. The current government has added red tape, complexity, and uncertainty to the funding model via a system of performance measures. We do applaud, however, the commitment to a three year funding model.
It is good to see that each institution will be evaluated by different criteria to ensure that Olds College is not being judged on the same merits as the University of Alberta.
Overall, though, we are concerned with this policy announcement. We have seen this kind of approach before - the government changes the rules, reduces established funding models, and then expects the affected organizations to fix the problems this creates.
The next few years will bring insecurity to all 26 institutions and the thousands of Albertans striving to grow their personal capital and grow Alberta’s economy. In a world of uncertainty, the Kenney government has decided that big government knows what’s best.
For more information on this release please contact
VP of Communications