Education in Canada: Drastically Deteriorating or World Leading?

Education in Canada: Drastically Deteriorating or World Leading?

On November 3rd and November 10th, 2017, the Baron Black of Crossharbour, better known as Conrad Black, dedicated the focus of his weekly opinion column in the National Post to launching a scathing critique of the Canadian educational system from primary school all the way to the postsecondary level (university education).[1] [2] Black’s criticism comes in the wake of the release of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessment of the mathematics, reading, and writing skills possessed by Grade 6 students within the Province of Ontario which conveys a seven percent decline in students’ standards of mathematics when compared to the results from 2012/2013.

Overqualification leading to Underemployment—a modern challenge

Overqualification leading to Underemployment—a modern challenge

This week’s CSBR Student Economist analyzes the overqualification and underemployment of workers in Canada.  Overqualification is defined as individuals with a university degree working in occupations requiring a college education or less.  Overqualification often leads to underemployment and affects men and women, immigrants and native-born citizens differently and presents a pressing, and seemingly intractable, challenge to policymakers.

The Importance of Being Pertinent

The Importance of Being Pertinent

In each of Canada’s major universities, economics departments are tasked with the duty of providing their respective students with a comprehensive and applicable education in the field of economics. As part of this mission, it is necessary that universities augment required courses that provide a strong foundation in the fundamentals of economics with supplementary courses providing students with applied learning on topics of current and future importance. Although most universities excel at this task, there are some notable gaps.

Provincial Tuition: An Analysis

Provincial Tuition: An Analysis

Across Canada’s ten provinces, each jurisdiction pursues its own policies towards administering and pricing post-secondary education (including at the university level), this week’s CSBR Student Economist provides an analysis of the average undergraduate university tuition levels for each province and the respective percent changes in price when adjusted for inflation.

A Ride to A Flight

A Ride to A Flight

As the fall semester comes to a close and many students begin their journeys home for the holidays, the Student Economist for this week will focus on the topic of taxi rides between the campuses of major Canadian universities and airports.

In John Hughes’ 1987 critically acclaimed comedy film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Neal Page, an advertising executive played by Steve Martin, tries to make it home to Chicago in time to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  When inclement weather strikes Chicago and his plane is forced to divert to Wichita, Kansas, he teams up with Del Griffith, a shower curtain salesman and fellow stranded traveler played by John Candy.  The odd pair use numerous modes of transportation, from trains to milk trucks, in their adventurous quest to make it back home to Chicago.[1]

The Economics of Sleep

The Economics of Sleep

“I’m probably going to have to pull an all-nighter on Tuesday and then comes exams.”—Overheard in McLennan Library on the campus of McGill University

As final exams for the fall semester creep closer with every passing day, the Student Economist for this week will focus on the economics of sleep and why the act of sacrificing sleep for studying may not be the best decision.

Textbooks and Epinephrine

Textbooks and Epinephrine

As university student, it is a familiar ritual marking the beginning of a new semester and usually is the discussion that comprises the first lecture of any course, the review of the syllabus.  In addition to listing classroom expectations, grading rubric for the course, and any other related varia, the syllabus often possess a section listing the required course materials, which comprises textbooks, software, or any other items that the professor deems of particular importance to the course. 

Smoking on the Streets: A Public Health Issue

Smoking on the Streets: A Public Health Issue

This morning, while walking along Sherbrooke Street in Montreal heading towards the downtown campus of McGill University, I overheard a conversation between two middle aged men smoking cigarettes while standing next to the entrance of a large office building.

“This cough just won’t go away.  I should have asked my doctor about it.  I think I’m going to head to hospital tomorrow to get some antibiotics.”

Though it seems that the flu season has come early to Montreal this year, and coughs have many different causes and may last for varying durations, there is one small step that everyone can do to take care of their personal health and contribute to the public good: stop smoking.

Airport Lines: An End in Sight?

Airport Lines: An End in Sight?

“Attention passengers, please put all carryon luggage and outerwear on the belt; if you have a laptop it must be placed in a bin by itself.”

This short declaration is a common refrain heard by frequent fliers.  During the fall travel season, this statement is also often received by Canadian university students.  Taking McGill University in Montreal as an example, over 47% of the student body are international students[1] or out-of-province students.[2][3]  The student body makeup of other major Canadian universities is largely similar; 18.1% of the student population of the University of Toronto are international students[4] and 21% of the undergraduate student body of the University of British Columbia are students who are neither Canadian citizens nor residents of Canada.