Three regulatory reforms to help students get better career training in Canada.
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Hello, I'm asking for your support of three regulatory reforms designed to create a healthier ecosystem for vocational education (career training) Canada. Because advanced education is regulated provincially we are focusing on BC, but we aim to set a precedent for the rest of the country and attract the attention of Justin Trudeau. Similar initiatives have been implemented in America and are desperately needed in Canada. Please consider these:
- Improve Transparency: Create a public index of graduate outcomes for all vocational programs by connecting de-identified tax records with student records. (US College Scorecard Data)
- Prevent Predatory Lending: Prohibit academic institutions from using incentive compensation for employees to enrol a student or secure financial aid. (US legislation)
- Provide a Second Chance: Provide reparations to victims of predatory practices by forgiving debts and/or offering tuition credits for vocational programs with high employment placement rates.
Increasing transparency on graduate outcomes and reducing predatory student recruitment will create a much healthier incentive structure. One that rewards career training institutions for actually producing employable graduates opposed to simply enrolling them as students. The next few decades will see the majority of current jobs become automated by artificial intelligence. We need to create a regulatory structure that allows for experimentation in educational models, and provides all stakeholders in the higher education ecosystem to have clear visibility of what is working and what is not.
Many years ago, BC adopted a system of self regulation for the private career training industry and the industry became governed by members of industry. Because there was no board representation from students, teachers, or employers (outside the education industry), lopsided regulations were created. I know this problem intimately, as I personally fought for my money back from a government accredited career training institution that used deceptive marketing and used commissioned-paid sales teams to recruit students.
There are many great vocational schools in BC, but our current regulations still favour the most unscrupulous of diploma mills. The market structure for career and language training is what economists would call a "A Market For Lemons", where poor access to information makes it difficult for buyers to discern the quality of products being sold. This asymmetric market structure is toxic for nearly all stakeholders because marketing produces higher ROI than investing in the actual product, the education, our entire economy suffers.
The provincial election in British Columbia is coming soon, on May 9th, so now is the time to show public support for the above reforms. By increasing transparency on graduate outcomes, preventing predatory practices, and offering victimized students a second chance, we will be able to improve market performance and maintain a healthy economy as employment landscapes shift.
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