Ouch, the polytechnic thing heats up

I just heard Saint John’s Elsie Wayne on CBC saying “there is no way in he….. they are taking our university away from us”. Then to add injury to insult CBC had their comedy team do a sketch about dumbing down the university to the polytechnic. Ouch.

Six Cabinet ministers from Saint John, Elsie all cranked up, national program poking fun at the idea…..

This is getting interesting.

I’ll give you 10-1 odds, UNB-SJ does not become a polytechnic. But, please, let’s keep the $$ low – $10 bucks.

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0 Responses to Ouch, the polytechnic thing heats up

  1. Anonymous says:

    I heard the same interview this morning and thought that she was a pretentious B*%$#. “Thank God for Irving…without them, this city would be deserted” What? Geez, I wonder that kind of kickback that generates. But being the mayor for SJ I can imagine that there is a long president and the pen is well broken in.
    Come on, at the discussion there was what, 200 students that showed up out of some 3’000. That’s roughly 6% of the universities student union population. This is a democracy and sorry, the students don’t care as long as they get their golden ticket.
    I had a chance to go to College and University (UNB) and looking back on the experience, I would say that both are equally good and regarded the same (contrary to popular stigmas). So merging both seems like a logical solution to benefit the population and create a better network at the same time.
    And by the way, Elsie Wayne is NOT the prime example for rational thinking. Snap

  2. Anonymous says:

    Elsie Wayne sounded like a pretentious B???? but the Elsies of this world seem to control the policies in this province. I wont take David’s bet because I think he is bang on the money. The same thing has happened a lot of late and the needs of the few are beginning to outweigh the needs of the many. But hey, thank God for Irving (how much do you think it was worth to her for saying that?).

  3. David Campbell says:

    Just to be clear on this, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other on the polytechnic thing. I, quite frankly, don’t know the difference between a polytechnic and polysporin. I’ll leave that to folks that know this stuff. I just find the politics of it fascinating.

  4. Eugene says:

    Yes, thank god for the Irvings. But does the government have to overhaul our entire post secondary system just to give them taxpayer-funded training for the new refinery? Why not just write them a cheque?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Elsie has the traditional, kee-jerk elitist reaction that created the problem of reduced trades enrollment.

    I think she’s just worried that it would lower the value of her “honourary” degree!! (At least with a polytech, you would actually have to WORK and STUDY to get a degree!).

  6. mikel says:

    This isn’t an Irving issue except to the extent that Eugene points out, that the commission is stating that education should be tailored to industry. That’s CURRENT industry.

    So they don’t say that it should be tailored to burgeoning industry, or potential industries, but just industry, and exactly what does that mean?

    Unfortunately, we don’t know. The polytechnic thing in Saint John just seems to be announced to open people’s eyes, sometimes people need that. There is lots of other stuff in there, and that is a marginal topic (unless you are from Saint John).

    I could care less about Elsie, but I know that many people in St. John worked hard to build that place up. And actually, 6% of the population is pretty good turnout at a demonstration. Most students have no idea what is going on, and probably assume that nothing will come of it. Someday when they are in an interview and somebody says “Oh, I see you went to community college in Saint John” then they may think differently.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Folks sure get worked up about the terms–polytechnic vs university.

    One thing many folks just do not get through their heads is that everyone needs job training at some point in their lives. That can be done in high school (although decreasingly so), at community college, or university.

    As a parent, I’d much rather send my kid to a polytechnic where he could learn real job skills while also taking traditional academic courses than to a university to take a BA that doesn’t qualify him to do much.

    Geesh! Get with the times already.

    As far as advocating a liberal education goes, the stress should be on life-long learning. Can we afford this luxury on our young, or do we need to first get them into jobs and have them do that on their own?

  8. Anonymous says:

    By the way, there weren’t 200 protestors.

    There were 1,700 students, faculty, alumni, business people, senior citizens, you name it.

    The filled King Street marching six abreast towards Doherty’s office.

    His neck was quivering as he smiled nervously for a reason.

    This isn’t just a big issue in Saint John, it’s a huge issue. David, I can’t believe you’d support downgrading PSE education as a step in the right direction for economic development.

    Read the report. It, in no uncertain terms, calls for the undegrad programs at UNBSJ to be scrapped, with only bare-bones first and second year general offerings and maybe some full undergraduate degrees.

    It’s an insult to those who want a better education for their children. For those who don’t want their kids to be stuck in the small blue collar jobs with the same blue collar employers they’re stuck with.

  9. David Campbell says:

    David, I can’t believe you’d support downgrading PSE education as a step in the right direction for economic development.

    Read my post, hoss. I said I don’t know the difference between a polytechnic and polysporin. I am fascinated with the process not the policy.

    I tell you the truth – is a polytechnic a ‘downgrade’? The authors of the report say no, others say yes.

    All I said is that Saint John is a very powerful voice right now in Cabinet and if it wants to keep its current status as a university, I would be money this will happen. That’s all.

  10. mikel says:

    I tend to agree with the above poster. A BA degree is great so long as there are tons of government jobs around, like there was in the seventies.

    THere’s a reason that I’m currently working in the field that I was working in to pay tuition to get a BA. I would have been better off if I had just focused on the business and not bothered with the ‘middle part’.

    A BA is also great-so long as you are going to get a Masters Degree. After all, they need more professors. And many Arts majors are in some way applicable to business-economics, sociology, hell, psychology has virtually kept modern business going, and of course political science. Which sort of invalidates my previous statements I guess.

    The problem with training for a job is that it ONLY trains you for a job. Along this thinking, we should be scrapping medical school because nine-tenths of what a GP does can be done with the internet. Why have engineering? If your job is going to be in one specific area then people should pick an occupation in middle school and train exclusively for that.

    But in REALITY people know that ‘industry’ is a fickle mistress. What is useful one day, is obsolete the next. Imagine if this were 1940- “Saint John should have a polytechnic that focuses on the big industry of cotton weaving. Yes, Saint John needs loom workers and all training should be focused on ‘job training’ for the loom, the biggest advancements are with the loom and the cotton industry in Saint John is big”

    Or perhaps “job training specifically for the sugar industry, Saint John’s biggest import is sugar, train now for sugar jobs”

    You get that kind of weird feeling whenever the minister STILL talks about ‘forestry training’.

    And to tell a quick story, I took Classics at UNB, one of my favourites subjects because it was interesting and not hard. However, I tried taking ancient Greek-for a reason. As the prof pointed out, canadian universities were hiring from the US-because there were no qualified canadians. Being very unusual and free of bullshit, the prof was a pretty honest guy-“I get up at ten, teach 20 hours a week, and read the rest of the time”.

    It’s a GREAT job-if you can get it. Now its a little different a story to be sure, but they are still pretty good jobs. My job is half manual labour and half research and planning, and let me tell you, as I get older, the manual part gets less and less fun.

    But I”m starting to think that its not Arts where the thinkers will be coming from, today its the scientists. Its not philosophers who are talking about ‘why are we here’, its the evolutionary biologists and astronomers.

    I wish I had thought of it to present to these guys before, but if they REALLY wanted something ‘state of the art’, then a faculty that combines science and arts would be a great idea. The ‘future’ is NOT training for refineries (which can be manned by managers as the strike showed), or even electrical (which is getting more simplified all the time). Its research, that ‘knowledge economy’ you may have heard of.

    Now, IF this ‘polytechnic’ actually is a COPY of MIT then people may think differently. MIT students ARE trained in ‘job’ training, but those jobs are in research. I seriously doubt that this is what they have in mind, if they do,they should have said so.

  11. richard says:

    “..its not Arts where the thinkers will be coming from, today its the scientists. “

    True enough. Good polytechnics are not just job-training sites, they are research universities that specialize in sciences pertinent to the region’s economy. Polytechnics can offer both a good science education, grounded in observation and critical thinking, and training. In many ways, they offer the best of both worlds, and Saint Johners should think very hard about what they really want and need. A good polytechnic is a major jump from a community college. If Saint John does become an energy hub, and the polytechnic is producing highly-trained grads, think of the spin-off potential as they create energy-related businesses.

    As far as arts et al are concerned, there is always Freddy Beach. Only an hour away.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “It’s an insult to those who want a better education for their children. For those who don’t want their kids to be stuck in the small blue collar jobs with the same blue collar employers they’re stuck with.”

    Wow! It’s funny to think that your house in Rothesay was built by blue collar workers and you trust them with your live and your family. However, when it comes down to having them in the same class room as your kids, this is robbing them of their education?? Bravo…it seem that you succeeded to widen the gap a little more.
    Let me tell you, if you enter a classroom at UNBSJ there are likely 60% of the students that are there because mommy and daddy fronted the tuition. And if you walk in the community college, 60% are either working at the same time to pay for tuition or paying for it themselves straight-up. Now tell me who is a more responsible adult in the end.
    In my opinion, better education is not found by segregation of social classes with a college/university mentality. Besides, Fredericton is a hop, skip and a jump away, and since when does education have boundaries.