Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 3, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
PAGE 10 College continuing education school reports U is my pleasure to present a report of activities of the Lethbridge Community College school of continuing education for the summer and fall sem- ester of 1971. In so doing may I express my pleasure at being back in the friendly confines of the college after a sabbatical leave for tin year 1970-71. Our fimal report for the year 1970-71 showed that the school of continuing education handled a total of regis- tration units distributed ac- cording to the breakdown which follows. An analysis of this report shows several interesting trends, which seem to be con- tinuing in the present year as far as it has gone. A marked increase can be shown in the number of people who are involved in our off- campus program Cardstoil, Levern, Taber, Carmangay, Bow Island, Picture Butte, and Champion. If we accept tlie philosophy that the college is dedicated to serving the needs of UK com- munity, and if we agree that the community can be defined in a very broad geographical sense, then it would appear that this program lias teen very successful. This policy does present some difficulties, however, in terms of the demands placed upan the director in travelling and organizing programs away from the college. A noticeable increase in the popularity of the summer high school program is evident, due largely, I feel sure, to the reduced tees decreed by the board of governors prior to our 1970 summer term. On the other hand, our coach- ing school is becoming de- creasingly less popular, with the decreased emphasis on de- partmental examinations for Grade 12 students. Current dis- cussions in this area may change the picture ags'in by the summer of Further changes in the enrol- ments arc noted in the very significant increases in the In- dian upgrading program. As of this year the federal depart- ment of Indian affairs has asked the school of continuing education to coordinate all eve- ning adult upgrading programs on the two southern Alberta re- serves. One item worthy of men- tion here, however, is that Cardston School Division has very graciously opened their school facilities to us, without charge- Our summer Indian Counsel- lor. Assistant program operated successfully tar the third suc- cessive summer 21 student were registered for tine four- week program. The school of continuing edu- cation, in cooperation with the Canada Manpower centre, is currently operating a program of English and upgrading for 31 Tibetan immigrants of all ages, six months to 30 years. This program is operating in the Taber Recreation Centre, in- volves a staff. of three profes- sional teachers and will run for a period of 16 weeks during the interval Sept. 27 to Feb. 15. The program has created quite a bit of interest in the area, having received notice on the CBC national news as well as local news media. The school is proud to 'have been given the opportunity to extend the repu- tation of the college in this iww area. A further extension of our scope is a current four-day seminar operating at the Banff School of Fine Arls for a group of Indian women from the Blood Reserve. This program was developed by us, in coop- eration with tlie department of Indian affairs in Lethbridge, the division of vocational education, dspartmant of education in Cal- gary and the Banff School of Fine Arts. In closing may I reiterate the desire of UK school of con- tinuing education to serve the needs of tire community, how- ever broad this may be, -and thus to further the work of the Lethbridge Convmunrty College in this area. Lethbridge Community College Administration Building Performance contracting Free enterprise in the school system RepriuLcd from the Winnipeg Free Press Within the-past year or so a new has taken place in the world of education performance contracting. Like so much in educational theory and practice in this cen- tury, it has its origin in the United States. Though still in the embryonic stage, it has attracted much in- terest and is to be the subject of a publication by the Rand Corporation of Santa Monica, California, in November of this year. It would be presumptuous to anticipate what the Rand Cor- poration will nave to say on the subject, but the ideas are up for debate and the arguments pro and con for the new concept are no secret. Basfc to the introduction of performance contracting, in the few school areas where so far it has been tried, is public dis- illusionment with the present system. More aral more money is being spent on education with no appreciable improvement in results. When ?n industry requires in- creasing investment to produce the -amc quality of product it Is obviously in decline. Certainly this is the argu- ment of the economist, and there is a growing feeling that it should apply to education as well as to other phases of de- velopment. For, make no mistake about it, education is an industry today. The Economic Council of Canada calls it the biggest industry in our country. It involves over seven mil- lion students and teachers (ap- proximately a third of the pop- ulation) and hundreds of thou- sands of others on a part-time basis. It absorbs eight per cent of the Gross National Product, more than 20 per cent of all government spending about billion a year. These costs arc growing at a rate of 8.5 per cent a year at the post-secondary level by more than 20 per cent. The tax- payer pays most of the bill all of it at the primary and secondary levels, 05 per cent art the postTSecondary level. These escalating costs are at the heart of the problem. They have generated concern, if not actual revolt, on the part of taxpayers; and the concern has been intensified by the feeling that, despite increased costs, there has been no correspond- ing increase in standards. There has been a feeling that we are paying more and more for less and less. It is Hiis situation that has given rise to the concept of pra-formanec contracting, a lying-in of costs to actual per- formance. Under Qw system school board contracts its administra- tive and teaching responsibility out to a private enterprise or- ganization which guraotees re- sults or suffers a financial pen- alty. For the contractor it is a case of put up or suffer the economic consequences the introduction of free enterprise principles into an area long dominated by the stale. The basic difference between performance contracting and the system now in vogue in most countries is spelled out in its name. The emphasis is not only on contracting but on per- formance. Under tlie present system, re- gardless of performance, the state continues to pour its money into the educational pro- cess. Under performance contract- ing, performance must be prov- en or pay withheld. Under the present system there is no gurantee of per- formance; under performance contracting there must be per- formance or else- Opponents of the contracting concept say that this is an over- simplification of the issue. Who, they ask, is to decide what is performance? It is a question to which no one as yet has come up with a satisfactory answer. Theories of education differ so widely that one man's idea of per- formance may not be anotirer's. Some opponents of the con- cept point out that, while it may be effective in getting lag- gard students and potential dropouts through their grades, it may have a debilitating ef- fect on brighter, more crestive students. This undoubtedly is a danger although it may be noted that brighter students are not necessarily encouraged by the present system, which seems too often to cater to mediocri- ty, and that the really bright student will rise triumphant over even the worst of systems. The most vociferous oppo- U of L summer sessions After another successful sum- mer session in 1971 the univer- sity is completing plans for the edition, to include three semesters 1. May 8 to June 9; July 3 to July 25; 3. July 26 to Aug. 18. Many of the courses that have been very popular during pre- vious summer sessions will again be offered ferlunuig fleM botany (at West Canadian history, and compar- ative education, to name but a few, to a total of approximately 85 courses that will be offered during the three sessions by llw faculty of education and tlie fa- culty of arts and science. Pamphlets outlining the ten- tative course schedule and reg- istration procedures arc avail- able at no charge from the of- fices of continuing education, the registrar and from inform- ation services. nents of performance contract- ing are members of the educa- tional establishment, most not- ably the teacher organizations. They see it as opposed to their entrenched interests and argue that, if there is dissatis- faction with their performance, it is because the public has been too niggardly with funds. Give them more funds, they say, and they will improve per- formance. But all this does is bring the argument full cycle. The public says It is alresdy supplying more funds for edu- cation than ever before in his- tory but that results have not been commensurate with the increased expenditure. It is loo early yet to pass judgment on the merits of per- formance contracting, but the fact that it is being mooted at all (and in a few cases has ac- tually been put into practice) is an indication of public dis- satisfaction with the system now in vogue. It may, or may not, be the answer to public concern over high costs and poor perform- ance- Certainly it is not something that is going to take over our school systems overnight. But tire fact that as responsi- ble a body as the Rand Corpor- ation is interested in its pos- sibilities indicates that it la more Hun a flight of fancy. The material commissioned by the corporation should make interesting reading.