Post-secondary education

Post-secondary education

Across the province, British Columbians are feeling the effects of a changing economy. In many places, the cost of living has become so high that many families are struggling to make ends meet. In other parts of the province, job growth is negative or stagnant. At the same time, employers are predicting a potential shortfall of 514,000 skilled workers over the course of the next decade.

We have an affordability crisis and an education gap in B.C. Due to chronic underfunding of our public education system, We need a bold plan so that British Columbians can feel secure about their futures.

The B.C. Greens Lifelong learning strategy focuses on the following realities:

  • The nature of work is changing. If current trends continue, Canadians can expect to hold 15 jobs throughout their careers.

  • Cost of living has increased exponentially, while incomes have not. Parents and families are feeling the squeeze and need bolder solutions so they can raise their children without the stress of paying for costly childcare.

  • Our public education system is chronically underfunded. This isn’t just tough on kids and families, it also ignores that education is the best investment society can make.

Without updating our education system now, many of us will continue to struggle to earn a stable and secure income throughout our lives.  

The BC Greens are offering a concrete plan to remodel our education system for the emerging economy. We will implement evidence-based solutions to ensure all British Columbians receive the educational support they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Our Lifelong Learning Strategy will be accomplished through 8 components:

  1. Invest in early childhood education

  2. Invest in education for the emerging economy

  3. Provide a healthy start for school children

  4. Invest in professional development for teachers

  5. Ensure equitable access to public education

  6. Alleviate the burden of student debt

  7. Assist youth in finding employment

  8. Invest in worker skills, upgrading and retraining

Alleviate the burden of postsecondary student debt

  • Reduced the burden of tuition fees for B.C. graduates.
  • Greater access to education for economically disadvantaged students.
  • A more positive start in life for graduates as full contributors to the economy.
  • To enable students with existing loans to become debt free more quickly.
  • B.C. postsecondary education feeds are estimated to bring in approximately $1.9 billion in 2017/18.
  • The Conference Board estimates that “British Columbia’s economy is forgoing up to $7.9 billion on GDP and over $1.8 billion in lost tax revenues annually, because too few people have the education and skills needed to help businesses innovate and grow.”
  • Investing in post-secondary students through assistance with fees and debt will pay for itself over time as graduates join the workforce and contribute back to the economy and through taxes.
  • For example, according to the Canadian Federation of Students, income taxes paid by an average university-educated man would be $140,000 higher compared to a man with high school education over the span of a career.

Budget implications: $10 million over 3 years.

  • Evidence-based recommendations for reducing the costs of postsecondary education.
  • Evidence-based recommendations for ensuring B.C. students receive the best possible education to prepare them for the emerging economy.
  • This task force will reexamine the entire postsecondary education system to determine whether programs are being designed in order to best prepare students for the opportunities of the emerging economy.
  • The task force will examine questions such as:
    • Why do students need four years of university to earn a bachelor’s degree? Can the same degree of proficiency be accomplished in two or three years, depending on the field?
    • How can we better support the diverse interests and talents of students?
    • How can we expand students’ minds and experience? For example, should each bachelor’s degree candidate spend two out of four years as an intern or apprentice with a potential employer? This approach could result in doubling college capacity, thus allowing colleges to double their enrollment.

Budget implications: use existing resources.

Assist youth in finding employment

  • Courses that are more aligned with the needs of employers.
  • Increased emphasis on co-op and work experience programs.
  • More closely matched services between employers and graduates.
  • Increased investment from employers in entry-level jobs.
  • Graduates finding meaningful employment within six months of leaving postsecondary education institutions.
  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, many B.C. employers want the province’s postsecondary education institutions to place more emphasis on work-integrated learning, including cooperative education, internships, mentoring, capstone projects, group work and postsecondary education consultancy opportunities.
  • Employers say that broader aptitude is needed among workers, rather than a focus or specialization in one subject. Workers need the ability to work across multiple subjects; jobs increasingly require strong social skills, along with novel and adaptive thinking. More specific abilities include new media literacy, cross-cultural competency, virtual collaboration and computational thinking.

Budget implications: $65 million over 4 years.

Invest in worker skills, upgrading and retraining

  • Access to training for employees on SMEs. Greater survival rates for SMEs. Ensuring B.C. workers have the skills to thrive in the emerging economy.
  • SMEs tend to provide fewer opportunities for employees’ skills development than larger businesses. However, SMEs also tend to invest more in informal, on-the-job training. Firms that pursue innovation and growth strategies and those that use technology more intensively, invest more in skills development, regardless of their size. Benefits include firms profitability, productivity and competitive advantage; adoption of innovative practices; introduction of new technology; service delivery and customer satisfaction; employees’ retention rates (reduced turnover); and staff sense of belonging to the workplace. Positive impacts on worker-level outcomes include: productivity; job satisfaction and motivation; potential for career advancement; workers’ self-confidence; health and safety at the workplace; and competent use of technology.

Budget implications: $40 million over 4 years.

<< Childcare & early childhood education<< Public education

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