The dangers that lurk in privatizing post-secondary education
Here’s to the T-J. An informative piece on the perils of private post-secondary education in New Brunswick — and elsewhere. A cautionary tale…
from “Province urged to keep post-secondary private schools in line,” Matt McCann, Telegraph-Journal (June 30/08):
Private post-secondary institutions in the province need to have stricter rules in order to protect students, say the heads of New Brunswick’s public post-secondary schools.
The recommendation is part of their response to the original post-secondary education report, released in 2007, and a prelude to the Graham government’s final plan to reconstruct the province’s post-secondary education system.
The summary of the government’s action plan, released last Thursday, acknowledges and calls for an assurance of quality of private post-secondary schools in the province, but in the actual action plan itself, calls only for changes to the process for community colleges, leaving out private institutions.
The working group’s insistence that private schools be subject to a quality review by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission comes on the heels of the May announcement that the newest one, Meritus University, had finally been given degree-granting status.
Meritus’ publicly traded parent company the Apollo Group, however, has a past that would appear somewhat less than deserving of merit.
Ryan Donaghy, a spokesman for Business New Brunswick, said the department was aware of Apollo’s checkered past, but that the department evaluated it on its business plan only.
“We believe they’re going to be a very successful company, and a strong business in the New Brunswick community,” he said.
In fact, he said, BNB had been actively pursuing Apollo for about five years.
Apollo’s American schools have also been investigated based on complaints from students, citing concerns about the quality of education.
[Louise] Boudreau [spokesperson, department of post-secondary education] said the department also knew about Apollo’s legal troubles, but said there was no ethical dilemma.
“It only factored in, in the sense that we looked at that and evaluated whether that was a risk for us,” she said. “We put them through the quality process that we have here and they met all the requirements.”