Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Newsflash: Campbell didn’t get that big red nose from a clown shop

Community Colleges have a historic niche in Canada’s post-secondary education system. Not only do they help extend the participation of students from geographically diverse regions, but they are a relatively inexpensive alternative to university. Colleges also offer a range of practical training from technical to trades to general arts and science. British Columbia’s rich credit transfer system enhances the usefulness of the college sector by allowing students to chart a route from college into a university program with the minimum number of “wasted credits”, saving students in that province both time and money. Students in other provinces, particularly in Ontario, use the B.C. system to illustrate a transfer credit system that works, which should be the model for reform.

It is with this in mind that people may speculate that Campbell’s sudden move to assign university status to five provincial colleges was made in a similar state of mind as that which got him in trouble in Hawaii.

The Vancouver Sun likens Campbell’s bestowing of university status to Kwantlen, Malaspina, UCFV, Capilano and Emily Carr as "…a clown passing out balloons at a birthday party”, which may “…deflate the brand of B.C.'s highly regarded universities and specialized colleges."

Meanwhile, to facilitate this metamorphosis, the province is redirecting funding in the opposite direction; transferring $16 million from universities to colleges. Expect a big push to increase tuition fees at B.C.’s newest universities.

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