Economic opportunities and prosperity are increasingly tied to the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge. In a globally competitive environment, a well-educated workforce is a critical requirement for innovation and the development of knowledge-based activity. An education system which encourages the full potential of its students and recognizes the merits of excellence is paramount for success.
One of Atlantic Canada’s greatest resources is its universities. The region is home to 17 degree-granting institutions, nearly a quarter of Canada’s total. These range from multi-faculty institutions which incorporate professional and postgraduate programs to those with a more specialized focus. The excellence of the educational programs they offer attracts almost 64,000 full-time students, the highest proportion of youth enrolled in university programs anywhere in Canada.
Yet despite the increased demands being placed on our universities, the public resources which support them are increasingly constrained. There are concerns that if this persists, the quality and availability of a university education in Atlantic Canada may suffer.
This report examines the benefits of a university education to individual success; the universities’ contribution to economic growth and development; the importance of university-based research and development; and the impact of funding cutbacks on accessibility and quality.