Students need meaningful data when choosing postsecondary education

December 7, 2015
Paul Davidson, president, Universities Canada

The following letter to the editor was published in Maclean’s Magazine on December 11, 2015 in response to its Nov. 30, 2015, online story, “Why colleges are increasingly being seen as the smart choice.”

By Paul Davidson, president and CEO, Universities Canada

To the Editor,

Today’s students need meaningful data in making decisions about postsecondary education and careers. Unfortunately, Carolyn Abraham was short on data and big on tired myths (“Why colleges are increasingly being seen as the smart choice,” Dec. 1), missing the reality of Canada’s need for all types of skills, knowledge and credentials to achieve its economic and social potential.

Canadians get this: 92 percent say government should invest in colleges, polytechnics and universities – not choose between them. If the author had wanted to share actual data instead of outdated stereotypes on employment outcomes, she could have mentioned that between June 2008 and June 2015, about twice as many net new jobs were created for university graduates (1,065,000) than for college and trades graduates combined (620,000). She might have mentioned that more than half of today’s undergraduates benefit from experiential learning – such as co-ops, internships and service learning – as part of their university education. Or that 97 percent of Canadian universities offer students the international experience today’s employers want.

In 2013, three years after graduating, just 6 percent of bachelor’s graduates had gone to a college to take courses. It has never been unusual for employers to pay for additional training for newly hired grads. Nor is it unusual for grads to take additional courses on their own. The rates were similar in the 1980s and 1990s. This reflects the success of universities in preparing life-long learners.

Our changing economy requires employees to learn and adapt throughout their careers. University prepares students for this. And through a growing number of partnerships with colleges and polytechnics, universities are providing students with unlimited pathways to achieve their education and career goals.

Tagged:  Co-ops and internships

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

Media Contacts:
Helen Murphy
Director, communications
Universities Canada
Tel.: 613-563-3961 ext. 238
Cell.: 613-608-8749

Nadine Robitaille
Communications officer
Universities Canada
Tel.: 613-563-3961 ext. 306

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