Alberta’s 10-year strategy for post-secondary education openly attacks the right to post-secondary education. It reveals an intention to supply narrow private interests with skilled labour free of cost. It has nothing to do with educating the youth to acquire the knowledge and ability to think for themselves so as to build a bright future for themselves and the society they depend on for their living, and contribute to the same internationally.
Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) government revealed this in its 31-page report on post-secondary education, titled Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs. The report puts forward six high-sounding goals, supposedly based on what was found out during the study: Improve access and student experience, develop skills for jobs, support innovation and commercialization, strengthen internationalization, improve sustainability and affordability, and strengthen system governance. However, all of them add up to further consolidating the post-secondary education institutions (PSEs) as the handservants of the monopolies.
The report was supposedly created through “extensive engagement” with a wide variety of stakeholders, supervised by a UCP-selected “Coalition of Thought Leaders.” Albertans are familiar with phony government consultations. The conclusions are set in advance, the process is a charade, and the only feedback incorporated is whatever upholds the pre-determined conclusions. For example, academic organizations have long opposed focusing PSEs on commercializable research because it denigrates important research in disciplines like the humanities and social sciences, yet this is a key recommendation of the report.
Implementation of Alberta 2030 will be overseen by a UCP-selected “Guiding Coalition” which is heavily dominated by business interests rather than educators. For example, one guiding coalition member is the former CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Another is vice president of the Business Council of Canada. Still another is Stephen Harper’s former Chief of Staff. What qualifications do such people have to direct the future of higher education? [More]