Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Ihunday, March 14, 197S THE LETHHRIDGE HIRAID 5 Dr. I. J. Adel-CzlotviekoivsM The high cost of higher education Training program bungled Dr. Add Czlowlekowskl Is a member ot Hie department of economics at Hie Univer- sity ot Lcthljridgc. T AST decade saw an unprece- dented expansion of higher education in Canada as well as in most develop- ed countries of the world. Stu- dent enrolment in poslsecontl- ary education has almost trip- led during the 1860s reaching a figure of over half a milion in 1970. The rate of increase rang- ed from 10 to 15 per cent an- nually. In Alberta the expan- sion of enrolment in higher eoV ucation institutions has been the greatest of all; it soared from 10 thousand ten years ago to about 37 thousand in 1970. Al- though the rhythm of enrol- ment increase in higher edu- cation somewhat moder- ated recently it is slill expected that hy the end of the current decade about a million persons will be enrolled in the univer- silics and community colleges. At the present time about ono fifth of young people in the 18- 24 age group is attending post- secondary institutions; it is estimated that in 10 years this proportion win rise again t o reach almost one third of the above age groups. Whereas the major portion, about 60 per cent of the total student popula- tion go to university, a sizeable and rapidly growing part are students attending community colleges and technical insti- tutes. Despite slight moderation in the rate of expansion, full- lime enrolment in the non-uni- versity sector may attain about a quarter of a milion mark in 1975. This tremendous numerical growth in postsecondary educa- tion caused hy a rapid in- crease in the numbers of young people, as well as by Hie rising proportion of population who participate in higher education. The expansion of higher edu- cation has been most impres- sive not only numerically but in quality as well. In fact, while enrolment at the undergraduate level has augmented two and half times, that of graduates grew almost fivefold from 4.3 thousand to 24 thousand. Simi- larly the output of graduate de- grees has been growing much faster than the output of under- graduate degrees; while the number of degrees has tripled over the period, that of gradu- ate degrees has augmented not less than fivefold growing at a rate of 17 per cent a year. Tliis summary account gives a rough idea of the size of our educational establishment and the extent of its sophistication. Not all faculties recorded equal- ly great expansion; while tho graduations in arts nnd science and in education advanced at a high rate of about 15 per cent a year, in commerce and medi- cine they increased at a mark- edly lower rate of 10 per cent, while in engineering the annual growth has been very low in- deed at two per cent, Also the distributton of stu- dents among faculties shows some significant changes the proportion of arts and sci- ence students Increased by more than 10 per cent of Ilia student body, while those tak- ing medicine and dentistry de- clined from eight per cent in 1870 to little more than two per cent in 1970. This sharp and serious drop in the proportion of medical students was due not lo the fall in demand for places but rather to the limited admis- sions to those facilities. During the period there oc- curred a noticeable change in the male female composition of the student body in favor of the weaker sex; while 10 years ago one of four students was a female, recently (his ratio be- came one of three, that is every third student is a girl. It is also noteworthy that llin pace of ex- pansion in part-lime student enrolment has been rmich fast- er than in full-time enrolment with the result (hat about one- third are now part-time stu- dents as compared to one-fourth some 10 years ago. Hand in hand with the growth of cnrolmenl, (he expenditures in post secondary education have heen rising at an exceed- ingly high pace to reach a billion mark in 1970, lhat is To say, they mount to little less than three per cent of the na- tional income As a mat- ler of fact, expenditures of uni- versities and olher poslsecond- ary institutions have been ris- ing twice as fast as (heir en- rolments due to increasing cost per student. There are a few signs lhat they will subside in tbo foreseeable future. According to conservalive es- t f m a t e p government expen- ditures on higher education will prow in the seventies at about 15 per cent a year. Such a con- sxlcrable rise in expenditures on post-secondary education has been caused not by an extrava- gance hut by some objective factors hard If not altogether Imposible to avoid. Among them four major factors were at work: strong emphasis on formal education as an avenuo of social advancement and a guarantee for steady and well- paid employment; fast growth of the young age groups; rising family incomes; and more im- portantly, a deliberate public policy to promote high level manpower training programs in technology and sciences t o make up for the deficiency of the previous decade and the de- crease in suply of immigrant highly qualified manpower, The rate of increase hi ex- penditures on higher education varied markedly among prov- inces; in the Atlanic provinces expenditures were six and sev- en times greater in 1969-70 than a decade before, while in Alberta they were just over four limes higher than in I960. Operating expenditures per un- iversity student increased at a rate of 10 per cent a year and exceeded the level in 1970, while expenditures o n medical students attained dou- ble lhat figure. Tlrere is little doubt Uiat an extremely high rate of increase in expenditures per student is only in part attributable to in- flation. A large portion of i t is due to the increase in the proportion of graduate stu- dents, addition of expensive programs, expansion of costly research activities, and finally to increases in the cost of in- struction resulting from rising salaries and falling teaching loads of the faculty members. Certain programs, notably graduate and post graduate as well as medical studies, are in- comparably more expensive per student than undergraduate studies in arts and science. What is peculiar to this country is the fact that as a rule tha financial burden of these very expensive programs is borne not by the students but by thft taxpayers who virtually subsi- dize entirely this kind of studies. Similar development took place in the areas of non-uni- versity postsecondary educa- tion. Although the operating costs per student in community colleges were only one half as high as those of university stu- dents, expenditures of these in- stitutions have risen rapidly in recent years due to an increase In enrolment and rising costs per student. They were estimat- ed at million in 1969 and arc rising steadily. Despite growing taxpayer re- sistance to foot the enormous bill of higher education and a clearly discernible disenchant- ment of general public for rea- sons such as campus unrest and recently a substantial un- employment amongst universi- ty graduates, expenditures on postsecondary education will most likely continue to grow, albeit at a lower rate. It is, of course, impossible to estimate future expenditures with high degree of accuracy; neverthe- less the existing projections for the university and non-univer- sity higher education roughly estimate lhat total expenditures will more than double by 1980. The estimates range between a low of billion and a high of billion at 1970 price level. They are based on the assumn- lion of very large continuing in- creases in enrolment until 19110. Should this assumption be pro- ven wrong, the actual expendi- tures could be substantially lower. Even though the rate ot in- crease of student enrolment might abate during the 1970s higher education would continue to claim a growing share of limited capital and human re- sources of the nation. It will ba necessary, therefore, in the years ahead either to reduce the demands of olher claim- Mils to these resources such as health care, environmental pro- tection and financial support to e'dcrlv iwopte. or to cirt. down the claims of higher education institutions. Public expendi- tures on postsecondary educa- tion are now of Ihe same order of magnitude as total expendi- tures of hospitals, government transfer pV-ments to pension- ers or total spending on new automobiles. Since a reduction of old aee pensions and hosiital expendi- tures seems hardly acceptable lo our society, conscious of its obligations vis-a-vis the weak nnd the sick, the funds required for financing the needs of high- er education may only coma from private sources, that is, from sfuden's themselves and (Mr parents. Moreover, in view of increasing pressures for resources from the afore- mentioned social sectors t h e universities and colleges must justify their use of resources in terms of clearly defined ob- jectives and use these resources as efficiently as possible. The somewhat "runaway" process of higher education growth in the 1960s and tha per- sistent calls for budgetary re- straints compelled the federal and provincial governments lo give a hard look into the prob- lem of financing postsecondary education. An attempt has been made to harness this growth more effectively lo meet soci- ety's goals and economize re- sources in ways which will yield the best value for public money made available liberal- ly to educational industry. Two years ago the Council of Ministers of Education commis- sioned a study to investigate the magnitude and implications of public financing of postsec- ondary education in Canada. A team of experts under the di- rection of Professor S. G. Peit- chinis of the University of Cal- gary completed the inquiry last summer and produced a re- port containing a thorough an- alysis of all aspects of higher education financing. The inves- tigators have not confined their inquiry to strictly financial as- pects of postsecondary educa- tion but also tried to assess critically oilier related Issues pertaining lo organization and financing of scientific research, improvement of administrative structure, establishment of lib- eral arts colleges and alterna- tives, more equitable methods of financing. The report is so bulky and packed with content that summarizing it would tax the patience of the most tena- cious reader. It will, therefore, he appropriate to focus the at- tention on its highlights and more important recommenda- tions. Financing of postsecondary education in this country has been a matter of provincial jur- isdiction, but quite early the federal government was involv- ed in sharing Ihe cost of higher education and this involvement did not cease to expand. At the end of the last decade the fed- eral contribution to higher ed- ucation amounted to about 60 per cent of operating costs, which makes the federal treas- ury by far the largest source funds for post-secondary educa- tion. Other sources of financing are provincial governments whose share amounts to one fiftii of expenditures, students fees, about 15 per cent, and en- dowments and private dona- tions which account for six per cent. Universities have favored di- rect federal participation in their financing. Despite n firm- ly established system of public financing it appears that neith- er feaeral nor provincial author- ities have had any clear and consistent policy with respect to higher education. Instead they dealt with the problems as they arose without considering the implications for higher edu- cation and for federal-provin- cal relations. For this reason the report recommends that a standing federal provincial committee on postsecondary education be established to con- sider federal policies which af- fect the educational system. It has been found that in the past there occurred frequent federal incursions into the domain of provincial authority relative lo education. To avoid this the re- port calls for a close consulta- tion of provincial governments on all federal measures which have implications for education. Another source of financing expenditures are student fees. Their importance is declining because actually they represent only seven per cent of operat- ing costs, considering that about one half of the fees is paid from student grants. In view of (he existing inequali- ties among provinces re- spect to student contributions it is highly desirable that a greater measure of uniformi- ty be achieved in relation to loans and grants available for students and that similar inter- provincial standards of student assist ance he established throughout the country. During Ihe last decade it was the graduate studies that exper- ienced the fastest rate of growth of all branches of high- er education. Provincial g o v- ernments were not able for var- ious reasons to finance ade- quately that expansion. It was, therefore, inevitable for Iho 'Crazy Capers' Apart from being.a "yes- what are your (qualifications. federal government to under- take a major burden of sup- porting financially the organ- ization of graduate studies and providing funds for research ac- tivities closely related lo grad- uate programs. Federal support of researcli aclivities took the form o( grants distributed by the three Councils; The National lie- search Council for advanced re- search in pure and applied sci- ences; the Medical Research Council for studies in the field of health and the Canada Coun- cil in the areas of humanities and social sciences. Undoubted- ly most of this support lor re- search paid off handsomely in terms of high quality scientific work as attested by a Nobel Prize recently won by a Cana- dian physicist on the staff of- the National Research Council. However effective this meth- od of promoting research might have been, it has never- theless some serious flaws. Firstly, it is highly biased in favor of natural sciences and technology lo the disadvantage of research in social sciences and humanities. For example, in the academic year 19C9-70 The National Research Coun- cil's allocation for advanced work in sciences accounted for more than two fifths of the total fund of million earmarked for research and advanced stu- dies from the public treasury. In contrast less than one fifth has been allocated for research in health and little more than one tenth for research and cre- ative work in fine arts, litera- ture, music, drama and social sciences which fall within tha purview of the Canada Council. The result of this skewed set of priorities is that much less valuable work has been done in this country on the vital Issues of cultural conflicts, peace re- search, urbanization, social dis- orders, housing, family disinte- gration, poverty than in tha field of advanced science and technology. Because of this de- ficiency many promising Cana- dian scholars were forced to study abroad and thereby de- flect their attention from vital domestic issues. Secondly, there Is much dupli- cation and little co-operation between various agencies finan- cing research, and naturally some degree of chaos in the organization of assistance to cultural and scientific develop- ment in this country'. To re- move these shortcomings the report recommends that a com- mission for social, cultural and scientific development be set up in which the hitherto separ- ate federal councils could bo included as evaluative bodies to assess proposals for research and programs of advanced stu- dies. The main task of the com- mission should consist in lishing a list of research priori- ties as well as allocating of research funds among the ap- plicants and universities. As regards the research ac- tivities carried on within uni- versities the report puts for- ward a rather bold, but per- fectly sensible proposal that re- search unrelated to academic instruction should be separated and transferred to specialized research institutes. This idea is closely tied with another equal- ly startling suggestion which is likely to meet with a strong opposition of the entrenched powers. The inquiry revealed peculiar trends which affect ad- versely both the cost of aca- demic instruction and the ad- ministrative efficiency of tha postsecondary institutions. There was in recent years a great proliferation of courses and continuous reduction in class sizes without any demon- strable improvement in the quality of instruction. At t h o same time the teaching loads per faculty member have been considerably reduced on tho premise that professors would be able to devote more time to writing and research. This de- velopment resulted in a highly expensive academic system in which most students receive ed- ucation which actually could be much less expensive. It follows that the quality of instruction would be improved and substan- tial economies achieved if the existing structure of universi- ties were overhauled so that the undergraduate programs be taught in the liberal arts col- leges for three years whereas the advanced courses at t h e graduate level as well as pro- fessional training be offered in specialized institutes and sep- arate professional schools. Be- sides lower cost and. better in- struction decentralization of higher education would act as a brake on the overgrown uni- versity colossi plagued by stu- dent anonymity and campus heavy bureaucracy and diseconomies of large scale concomitant with bigness. Although this proposal sounds quite revolutionary it has been in operation for several dec- ades in many European coun- tries, notably in France, Ger- many and ill Eastern Europe. There is no indication thai Iho quality of higher education in (hose countries has suffered be- cause of decentralization of higher learning. As a rule tho faculties of engineering, agri- culture, commerce and econo- mics as well as medical studies form separate schools or insti- tutes to the satisfaction of stu- dents and professors. Finally, the report touches on a delicate point of student sharo in carrying the financial bur- den of university instruction. Contrary to popular demand for higher education free for all who want it, the authors firmly assert that this postulate i s neither feasible nor justifiable from the standpoint of fairness. It is not feasible, because it would impose a very heavy bur- den on the taxpayers who al- ready grumble about confisca- lory laxes, unless ennrotmcnt be severely limited by high admis- sion requirements or other- wise. It is unjustifiable and ob- jectionable, for it would lead to a larger subsidization of thp middle and well-off classes of society whose children make a vast majority of student popula- tion in this country. Free high- er education would not neces- sarily change this composition to the advantage of students from poorer families, and gen- eral subsidization is not a ra- tional way of financing post- secondary education. If higher education could not and ought not to be financed entirely from the public purse, then the students should partici- pate more than it is the case now in defraying its cost. This inescapable conclusion opens 3 whole spectrum of possible al- ternatives. In order to ensure a more equitable distribution of financial burden among the students two principles ought to be established. First, the stu- dent's ability to pay fees, which varies depending on the income group to which their parents belong; second, the cost of var- ious programs of studies. It is well known that costs per student range from a low level of about for undergradu- ate programs in arts to S30CO for graduate studies and a high level of over in medi- cine. Hitherto the main form of public assistance to students has been bank loans guranteed by the federal government. This system is opon to criticism on the ground lhat it does not suf- ficiently access t o higher education for needy stu- dents who not infrequently are reluctant to contract heavy debts. It appears, therefore, (hat an alternative approach to student assistance consisting of unconditional grants, con- lional grants, loans and schol- arships is preferable. If adopt- ed it would ensure greater equality of opportunity for a larger number of students. At the same time such a system would reduce the contribution of public bodies by shifting a higher proportion of costs onto those students who are able to pay higher fees. Also by estab- lishing conditional service grants to suitable applicants who will be required to serve for a few years after gradua- tion it would attract potential students towards certain areas health care, social work particularly valuable lo the na- tion. On the other hand, stu- dents enrolled in expensive pro- fessional studies like medicine, engineering, as well as gradu- ate and postgraduate courses would finance a larger portion of costs from their own re- sources, according t o their means. Needless to say an integrated student assistance program sketched above requires much foresight, sound judgment and careful planning, because of its implications for all parties involved in higher education: the students, universities and colleges, the government and the society at large. Neverthe- less it can be dore, and there- fore, it must be done. The re- port contains many suggestions how it can be done. It would, however, exceed the purpose and the confines of this article to engage in a detailed discussion of that complex is- sue. Suffice it to say at this juncture that the report pre- sents a very penetrating analy- sis and a judicious assessment of multifarious problems cre- ated by an extraordinary ex- pansion of higher education and very helpful suggestions on how it can be improved. The auth- ors, particularly Professor Peit- chinis, the director of the study, .should be highly commended for their courage in exposing shortcomings, wastage of re- sources and blunders made by all parties involved in higher education, not excluding their own professional colleagues. By doing so they have render- ed a good service to this nation. The t'olcman Journal citizens from coast to coast J will remember the bold, brave words of the Trudeau government to defeat in- flation and unemplojTnent through expen- ditures of huge sums of money to increase production, encourage nuimmofh provin- cial and municipal works programs and a stop gap "job training plan." It is the latter which has turned out lo be a fiasco. The job training program was designed to place young people, unemployed or oth- ers in a business or plant with the federal government paying 75 per cent of the agreed employee employer gross wage and benefits, tire employer paying the oili- er 25 per cent. The employer must satisfy the government of Canada on a training program which will result in the trainee having a basic knowledge and skil1 for future employment in the field of work in which he was trained. Ths program was open lo all with every type of business trade and skill eligible and a great deal of Ottawa government money earmarked for the project. But like all oilier hastily put together federal government plans it has ''back- fired11 in part. Lack of adequate pre-pro- grarc planning with the provinces has re- sulved in a serious discrimination factor to a large part of the Canadian public. The program handled by the federal gov- ernment manpower department is doing its job with efficiency and competency on the lower levels. Applications are received and all the points explained to both employee and employer at -ocal cr area offices. These applications are forwarded to the zone office where they are eiUier approved or disapproved. AJ1 went well until December 23, 1971 when woi-d went out from Ottawa that any applicants for "skilled" trades would not be eligible in the future. All applicants who applied for training in skilled trades after this dale had to be notified of their application cancellations by local manpow- er officers. They have no reason for tho new Ottawa ruling. The Review began to dig into tlie facts of this government program, of a public nature, which resulted in discrimination for those wanting a training opportunity in a skilled trade. 'Hie first piece of information found by The Jleview was the federal government failed to negotiate with provincial govern- ment labor departments relative to mat- ters of provincial acis, which has jurisdiction over any federal pro- gran; of (Ms type. The Review further found out the free- dom of an employer to employ any un- skilled person in a skilled industry is jeo- pardized and contravenes the B.C. provin- cial labor board apprenticeship act, both in wages and training programs. Nowhere in Canada can it be learned negotiations between the federal and provincial govern- ments were consumated before Ottawa an- nounced its massive [raining program. As a result of the two governments not co- operating, those persons wishing training in a skilled trade under the federal gov- ernment emergency program, have been discriminated against while those ap- plicants wishing training in lion skilled trades or business can still qualify and participate. And finally let's face it the gov- ernment for this of the program has just ran out of money. Just what the shift in ministerial gui- dance in the Tradeau government towards elimination of this situation, will remain to be seen, but in the meantime while unemployment is> al its highest level, im- mediate remedial action should be imple- mented to get this productive program uni- versal to al! Canadians without provincial and federal red tape. Tribal nationalism The International Herald Tribune rpHE return of Cyprus to the headlines is another example of the importance and the complexity of the new air- rents of ethnic nationalism, tribal na- tionalism, as a disruptive clement in the technologically close-knit world of today. For the original Cyprus crisis was in large measure the result of frictions between the Turkish end Greek Cypriots on Die island, coupled with a demand for independence from the colonial sovereign, Britain. North- ern Ireland might find in (hat situation echoes of iis own dilemma. But Cypriot independence did not bring an end to the communal troubles on Cy- prus. For while it was very widely as- sumed, particularly in Greece, that Cy- priot independence was only a first step toward an early union with the mainland, this has not been the case. Rather a nar- rowly Cypriot nationalism (albeit one that is predominantly Greek in language and culture) has taken root wider Archbishop Makarios, and a brusque effort by the Greek government to assert its hegemony tlxre, although one that has the support of Cypriot fighters for enosis (union) with Greece, headed by Gen. Grivas, has fail- ed. In other words, the Greek Cypriots are divided, while the Turkish Cypriote re- main unreconciled. The troubles of tribal nationalism thus seem to have no blind move- ments of history that brought alien popula- tions within political entities, whether call- ed colonies or nations, created a global patchwork that now seems in file process of endless unravelment. Cypriot indepen- dence brought the split between the Greek Cypriots witliout solving the problem of their Turkish neighbors. Irish Indepen- dence brought the split between north and south, and the clash between Protestants and Catholics (to use the religious labels for an ethnic division) in the north. In- dian independence brought a partition along religions lines that has proved as insecure as any arbitrary political bound- ary; the independence of Bangladesh leaves unsolved the question of the Biharis. In the United States, the new, vivid, in- terest in ethnic differences has produced friction between groups that was supposed to be eliminated by the largely voluntary nature of immigration to America and heightened the tribal consciousness of those whose entry into the American sys- tem was not voluntary the blacks, the Indiajts, the Chicanes- and the Puerto Ricans. It would appear that very size of modern states, the interlocking needs of the groups comprising them, the homog- enizing effect of present-day communica- tions, has emphasized the need for man to find some narrower system of loyalties, some smaller community, to sustain his personal and group pride. The truth of Edith Caveil's words "Patriotism is not enough" has been amply demonstrated. But the demonstra- tion has not yet gone, as Nurse Cavell tried to prove by her life and her death, to the point of eliminating hatred for all men. Rather, allegiance to uie tural, religious, eUmic or planting allegiance to the political nation it is very doubtful Uiat humanity is the gainer. T AST WEEK, an unusually gifted young pianist, Marek Jablonski, charmed a capacity house at Ihe Yates, Next week, it seems probable an equally full and en- thusiastic audience will attend a perform- ance by tlic Alberta Ballet Company, Cred- it for sponsoring lliese programs is shared by the Allied Arts Council and the cul- tural development branch of the depart- ment of culture, youth and recreation (honestly, that's what they call it) and generous credit it should be. There were a couple of news items about the Jablonski concert, but I see- ing any review, if there was one. I can offer no critical judgment about it, much as I Ihink there should be one, because I know nothing about music. (Come to Ihink of it, it was once believed by the sweatier among my boyhood companions lhat I har- bored some unbecoming knowledge about music, because of a reluctance to play hockey around; noon on Saturdays during [he Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, an ec- centricity only tolerated, I suspect, because goalkeepers were even scarce back in those days of rather rudimentary If one can judge from the enthusiasm of the audience, however, it was an unusual- ly fine and well-chosen program. This is scarcely surprising; Jablonski has played before some rather sophisticated au- diences, in North America and Kurope, and is, so to speak, major leaguer. Knowing even less about ballet, I cannot say and won't be able lo after their performance just how good the Alberta Ballet Company may be. Alberta isn't wide- ly known as "ballet and if Ed- monton were to hatch a rival for the Bol- shoi or even the Winnipeg 1 suspect I know it will be worth seeing. The cultural development branch is one government agency lhat doesn't waste its resources backing losers; its director is a very talent- ed artist in his own field (drama) and an exacting judge of several others. If he put Ibis particular show on the road, you can be confident it's ready lo perform, here or anywhere olse in the province. The price of admission has been for adults, O for students, which means you can take the family for about the price of a picture show. (Remember? There used to be picture shows you'd take the family surely is a really good thing for a government to undertake; it's also a ne- cessary one, in this day and age, when sex shows end blood sports are the leufl- ing forms of mass entertainment. Clearly the cultural development branch realized, and all of us should, (bat just as young artists need lo perform for real audiences, so also do young in various ways au- diences need to sec and experience real programs.