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Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Is Canada and India brewing in the same kettle ?

In the recent University Affairs, Professor Douglas Parker of Laurentian University critiques his teaching experience in India. He claims in turn for high tuition fees at private universities, expectations were that regardless of how students did, they passed. Point well taken. But aren’t some of our Canadian pots the ones calling the Indian kettle black.

Professor Parker was in turn critiqued by those who felt his conclusions were not fair, as they were based on a single episode at just one private Indian university.

Parker writes there are “several concerns that Canadian universities might need to be aware of before jumping feet first into what at first blush might seem to be a potential money-spinner and attractive market, ripe for the picking.”

But how many Canadian universities are doing the same dollar chasing and tossing academic integrity by the wayside ?

From trumped up conditional admissions to push English-language programs for the cash they bring in, to stretching the boundaries of honesty in representation of foundation programs, and to drops in admission standards to put bums in seats.

In the end, isn’t the impetus for these practices, here and there, one and the same – financial?

Sure, almost all the private education industry in India is focussed on the money, and in most cases, at the expense of selling a quality academic experience. But they are private providers. What about Canada’s public sector ? Don’t publicly-funded Canadian practitioners have a duty to taxpayers, not shareholders – and to the students, who themselves and/or their families are footing the bill ?

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About Mel

Mel has consulted universities, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the field of international education since 1997. He is co-founder of Higher-Edge, the parent of Overseas, Overwhelmed, and a director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He is a former award-winning CBC reporter and holds a Masters degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.

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