Friday, May 17, 2013



This issue of seeking savings rather than seekingearnings in incremental offshore franchise programs is perhaps the clearest indicator that the academic community in Canada has contributed to its own crisis in higher education than any other external factor. The levels of academic freedom in Canada are shockingly low and the account-abilities of administrative management teams are much to blame for their own fiscal crises. Four points to make on this compass.

1. The quality of higher education in Canada's traditional offshore student markets is improving and rising faster than Canada's domestic educational infrastructure. This is particularly evident in research spending and commercialization otherwise known as accountable and transparent measures to increase the return on taxpayer funded research. The combined production of new patents and intellectual property for new new inventions which earn a profit and contribute to the health and well being of a society and its quality of life are no longer the focus.

As a result, international students may soon be less likely to make up for local domestic shortfalls in higher education enrolment. Doubling international students is a national goal without sufficient international marketing. The strategy was rubber-stamped by a handful of institutions, designed by an American and often marketed by IDP, an Australian corporation. Journalists are not reporting on this enough.

2. Canadian national, provincial and institutional researchers are not examining their own supply-side dynamics reflexively enough in terms of graduate performance to adapt quickly enough to new employment market shifts. For example, British Columbia can no longer rely on ready supply of domestic skilled graduates to transfer to the province as in the past century. Shortfalls are seen as early as 2016 in that province which among others in the West have readily absorbed over production on new graduates in the East. New immigrants are projected to not only spend more on a Canadian education than Canadians do to win those positions but can be expected to earn less than domestic Canadian workers who would earn more with less education. Journalists are not reporting on this enough. Administrations are culpable for this.

3. Canadian institutions are quickly facing two fiscal cliffs in Nova Scotia and The Maritimes. The first is a potential drop in international enrollments  Canada's international competitors in higher education have been building their offshore income and profit earning programs for forty years to offset funding shortfalls at home. Canada is perhaps also pursuing a lowhanging fruit strategy in attracting immigrant researchers. This incremental increase is reminiscent of the influx of foreign academics to teach the baby boom generation which was the last time the Canadian higher education industry saw any incremental increases in employment opportunities in higher education. Attracting the bottom of the barrel is a Canadian trend. It will never give Canada a leg up on its competitors, namely The UK, The USA and Australia The second cliff is domestic enrolment declines.

4.The economic depression of the 1930's is often attributed to the undervaluation of supply chain and inventory influenced production statistics. In Canada, the oversupply of education graduates is a classic example of this failure of Canadian schools to keep track of the successes of their own students. Insufficient provincial and national tracking of disciplinary oversupply and under supply of trained professionals over decades of complacency have put Canadian institutions in the position that they are in today. Stats Canada predicted several local domestic enrollment shortfalls correctly in reports dating from 2007. No one in The Maritime Region and Newfoundland seems to even be talking about those scenarios publicly. The news is dire: as early as 2022 may see upwards of a 25% decline in enrollments across the region. Will doubling of international students by that time even be enough to plug the massive hole in this educational dyke?

Socialist politics may play a large part. But the globalization of Canada's economy has as swiftly degraded its ability to fund higher education through government supported programs as many other OECD nations in the past. Financial responsibilities in other regions such as Australia provoked successful incremental increases in profit earning offshore student programs much to the benefit of Australian society. Canada's third rate academia have bucked this trend for far too long and now that the cupboard is bare may they soon recognize they are lately to blame for the crisis and cost cutting to come. Better to seek new earning opportunities than cost cutting. In Nova Scotia, they have been saying no for so long they have forgotten how to say yes?


Daniel J. Costello

P.S. The original link to this article at The Chronicle Herald is now closed after fifteen hours and thirty responses. It is the second time I have called the newspaper to suggest that an entire facet of this ongoing issue is going unreported. Namely, informed and educated international opinion and trend is absent from discussion. I would be happy to make an argumentative contribution to Canadian society on this topic. I look forward to the opportunity to do so. If critical analysis is impossible the organizational slack of Canadian academia is therefore evident and apparent. It is a battle of egos rather than common sense, so typical. 

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