A little perspective on the post secondary education debate

I heard Premier Graham this morning on the radio saying that his education reforms will be emulated by other provinces and states. The bold steps taken here will be the model for others to follow, he said.

Hubris aside, the Premier would do well to actually look at other provinces.

I just read in Macleans about the UofT attracting celebrated professor Richard Florida (Mr. Creative). I wondered when I heard this a few months ago – how they did it.

$50 million from the Province of Ontario to set up a “Prosperity Institute” and attract Richard Florida to run it.

Now, some of you will poo poo this as out of our league. I have heard for the last 17 years that we can’t compete. Francis McGuire’s favourite line was “we can’t compete with [fill in the blank] on incentives”.

Bull crap.

New Brunswick needs to have its niche. It’s focus. It needs to be superb at a few things rather than dabbling (or making noise) about everything.

We spent over $6 billion on EI payments in the past ten years in New Brunswick. We received over $15 billion in Equalization.

We should able to find some money for stuff that is growth oriented. For stuff to move us ahead.

Bravo to Ontario. New Brunswick would be wise to learn a lesson here.

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0 Responses to A little perspective on the post secondary education debate

  1. mikel says:

    Recently, TVO -the provincially subsidized educational television station started by Bill Davis, had an all out forum on education. This was far beyond this two man commission who asked their buddies for some ideas. This forum was also online, involved the public, and really went through EVERYTHING.

    Hell, there are hardly even any montessori schools in New Brunswick, and the Premier thinks that other provinces are going to want to change their universities to polytechnic schools? Wow, thats a special kind of stupid.

    As I’ve said before, “Institutes” are the way of the present, and are where current funding dollars are going. I’ve mentioned three here in Waterloo, but there are also many others within the universities. St. Thomas had an opportunity and picked journalism of all things. But if Graham thinks federal dollars or other provinces are going to be ’emulating’ merging universities and community colleges, New Brunswick is in DEEP trouble, because clearly this guy has NO brains.

  2. trevor says:

    I recently attended a cybersocial in Moncton presented by MTA. They had a few examples of research projects which were kind of cool.

    after the presentations, MTA put up a slide stating that R&D funding has increased sharply in the last couple of years to the handsome sum of $4.5 million in total. This made me reflect and question if we are really serious about transitioning into a real knowledge based economy.

    It is sad to think that the weekly draw of Super 7 greatly out numbers the amount of dough we are putting in R&D projects for institutions like MTA. It makes go getters and inquisitive minds thinking of looking elsewhere for innovation.

    I am not saying that $4.5 million isn’t a lot of money to Atlantic Canadians but think of how much wealth could be generated in the region if we invested in real substantial R&D projects.

    These are huge billion dollar markets, why not try to get a chunk of that? Compare MTA who has a bootstrap R&D budget with universities in the US with 100’s of millions for reasearch. Innovative financial management can only take you so far..

    Someone, somewhere will need to take a huge risk if we are serious about being more then a blip on the R&D radar or at least look outside NB to get a greater number of financial investors putting some money in our market.

  3. Anonymous says:

    R&D doesn’t HAVE to involve outside money. I’ll say it again (and every opportunity), that the wealthiest 10% of New Brunswickers are the wealthiest in all of Canada.

    Go to the states and study virtually every city that has had a ‘comeback’. There are two things that they say, ‘big government’ is not the answer (although they always welcome any cash they can get from them), and that they are primarily spearheaded by industry.

    In New Brunswick this is noticeably absent. Saint John has had some private industry programs, but its very superficial and is mostly because Saint John was beginning to look like a third world country.

    So did you hear UPM talk about helping rebuild Miramichi? Of course not, in fact they went out of their way to tear it down. And to quote a familiar line, most of the industries in the states which helped their local towns were FROM that local town, you can’t expect Norwegians to give a rats ass when even the province of New Brunswick doesn’t.

    And as mentioned, private investment in the Beausejour Research Institute has skyrocketed-once they set up the program to make it available. They don’t care where the money comes from, as long as they get more of it. Once SOME investment comes in, then more may follow.

    But I agree with David, you cant just pick a topic out of a hat. Waterloo has a Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, but if you set up an institute you don’t make it in that because you have competition. But you don’t be an idiot and make it in something like journalism.

    I’m no capitalist peeg, but this is basic investment reality. You find something nobody else is doing, something that will interest enough people with money that they will pony up the dough to run it. The most practical hiring that NB could do right now is library sciences. These people take courses in how to find the people with money, and how to get some money from them.