If you’re wondering how the United States could (slowly) let the air out of its higher education bubble, the Washington Post has a suggestion for you: look north. The Post piece describes an educational niche carved out by Canadian “colleges” (roughly the equivalent of America’s two-year community colleges).The chief difference between these Canadian colleges and their American counterparts is a focus on practical knowledge and job skills. While American community colleges often proffer a lighter, watered-down version of full-university curriculum, Canadian colleges groom students for specific jobs:
‘The collective wisdom is, if you want to get a job, going to a college will mean nine times out of 10 you’ll be employed in your area of interest six months after graduation,’ said James Knight, president and chief executive of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. ‘Not to be negative about any other form of education, but we’ve discovered we can do this extremely well.’
While there will always be a need for in-depth liberal education, it’s not for everyone, and we do young students a disservice by using a one-size-fits-all educational model regardless of subject. A traditional four-year college experience makes sense for aspiring academics; it makes a lot less sense for those who aspire to a career in hospitality management.More colleges Canada style could help more Americans (young and not so young) learn actual skills for actual jobs at a price they can actually afford.