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A crucible and a catalyst : private post-secondary education policy in British Columbia Culos, Gregory Petrangelo

Abstract

The study provides an analysis of why and how private post-secondary education policy and regulation were implemented for the first time in 1990. Ostensibly, it was a result of losses incurred by students and the need for the provincial government to establish mechanisms for consumer protection. Evidence suggests, however, that the development of this policy was equally, if not more, a result of public and private interests, political objectives, and changing economic realities. The coincidence of these created a decade of private port-secondary education regulation that proved both inconsistent and ambiguous. At the same time, however, the public post-secondary education system in the province commercialized significantly. Using a socio-economic model, this research focuses on the external forces of internationalization and commercialization and the growth of a global market economy. Economics based on global trade for products and services was essentially a postwar phenomenon that in the 1970s displaced the preceding economic order based more upon socialist ideology. This research, grounded in literature from global, national, and provincial levels, centres on data collected from twelve experts on private post-secondary education in British Columbia. The shared experiences and knowledge of these individuals provides an historical perspective of development and intention that would not otherwise exist. The research establishes that there was a distinct interplay between the rise of a regulated private post-secondary education sector and the commercialization of British Columbia's public post-secondary system. In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, the private post-secondary education sector established patterns of commercial development that enabled it to grow. It found markets and it prospered from them. Subsequently, the public system began by degrees to demonstrate similar behaviors, and in many regards it followed pathways the private sector had carved.

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