Widening Access: Making the Transition from Mass to Universal Post-Secondary Education in Canada (2009)

Journal of Applied Research on Learning, Vol. 2, Special Issue, Article 3, 2009

This paper highlights some of the contemporary challenges facing postsecondary education in Canada and focuses on the need for a system that is more democratic, open, and accessible.

With an aging population and the secondary school population in decline, Canada must devote attention to increasing the educational attainment levels of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups in order to meet growing social and economic challenges, the author says. Those groups include first-generation postsecondary students; those from rural areas; Aboriginal students; those with disabilities; and adults and older learners.

Cost is one of the most significant barriers to postsecondary education for disadvantaged groups. Universal subsidies, tuition freezes, and universal tax credits are neither efficient nor equitable ways of helping the needy because they spend public funds to subsidize higher income groups, who already have much higher postsecondary participation rates than lower income earners.

A more effective use of any new funding would be to direct it entirely toward increasing affordability for those at the lower end of the income spectrum.

While the availability of financial resources is a significant determinant in postsecondary participation, a lack of academic preparation is important as well, the author notes. The postsecondary system needs to take on greater responsibility for academic remediation and should adopt clear guidelines for recognizing the prior learning experiences of prospective students.

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APA citation
Dale Kirby. Widening Access: Making the Transition from Mass to Universal Post-Secondary Education in Canada 2009. Web. 10 Aug. 2020 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/jarl/widening/widening.pdf>
Dale Kirby (2009). Widening Access: Making the Transition from Mass to Universal Post-Secondary Education in Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/jarl/widening/widening.pdf
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