Saturday, March 13, 2004

Community education: it's the market, stupid

Polytechs are running bullshit courses to get community education funding. Why am I not surprised?

Yes, a crackdown is needed (though ideally not one that undermines the sterling work institutions are doing with community computer education). At the same time, the government needs to address the underlying problems of systematic underfunding and the free market model of tertiary education. Successive governments have underfunded tertiary education for years. At the same time, they've encouraged providers to compete against one another for students and funding. This system incentivises exactly the sort of behaviour people are complaining about - and those who play along by creating myriad new qualifications so they have something to sell to everyone clean up over those who do not.

As a result, we have certificates in call-center operations and courses where stupid young girls pay three grand (and the institution collects far more in EFTS funding) to play at being a model. This is not stuff that deserves state funding. Neither do singing along with the radio and "twilight golf" - though at least these are far cheaper for the end-user.