Universities must stop treating students like consumers and students must stop treating universities like Walmarts.
The above was a recent tweet from Dr. StrangeJob that received a bit of attention, so I thought a further explanation was called for. The tweet was in reference to the recent Nova Scotia budget item lifting the three percent tuition cap for universities and colleges, supposedly to allow them to make a “one-time market adjustment”. The cap will return next year, but not for out-of-province or graduate students. In other words – it’s open season on tuition rates.
In a perfect world, we would look upon post-secondary education as a service that builds our intellectual future by ensuring classes are filled with students eager to learn. In an imperfect world, we would look upon post-secondary education as a business that builds the institution’s economic future by ensuring classes are filled with students willing to pay. In the perfect world, QA is an acronym for quality assurance. In the imperfect world, QA is an acronym for quantity assurance. The current post-secondary education system is both broke and broken.
One would assume the collective wisdom of student, faculty, and administration would have realized by now that the status quo is no longer viable. Unfortunately, the system will defend the status quo until someone forces a change. According to Mark Twain, the only person that likes change is a wet baby. Student driven solutions tend to be short-term focused – at least until graduation. University driven solutions tend to be long-term focused – at least until retirement. Things change, not because we see the light. Things change, because we feel the heat. This may be the hand dealt by the recent Nova Scotia budget.
We can talk solutions in a later post, but first let’s admit we need to change or at least realize things are starting to heat up.
Next up will be a discussion on the Peter Principle inspired phrases “Thinking out of the box” and “We need to make tough decisions”.
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