Canadian Attitudes on Post-Secondary Education

The CCL has just released survey results stating: “Public to Canada’s leaders: pay attention to post-secondary education“. There’s lots to review in the 80 questions that were asked of Canadians from across the country, summed up by the CCL President:

“What this poll tells us is that Canadians recognize that education and training are necessary to support economic growth and strong communities. They understand what a knowledge society means, and they want Canada to become a knowledge society,” said Dr. Paul Cappon, CCL’s president and CEO. “This is a message to our country’s leaders that higher education and skills training must be a national priority.”

Because I’m the type of person who reads the fine print, I found the responses to Question 54, available in the complete report, much more interesting:

Do you think that a college or university education is necessary for a person to be successful in today’s work world, or do you think that there are many ways to succeed in today’s work world without a college or university education?

  • Yes, necessary – 9%
  • No, many ways to succeed – 47%
  • DK / NA – 11%

Therefore, almost half of Canadians do not believe that post-secondary education is necessary to be successful in today’s work world.

Perhaps they had already read Will Richardson’s post, Dear Kids, You don’t have to go to College.


Here is another survey that I reported on last year in Work, Education & Taxes, where the results show that Canadians may be getting too much formal education, without any economic benefits. One comprehensive survey showed that Canadians have the highest rates of formal learning in the world, while another report indicated that there is a productivity gap in this country. If education can be directly correlated to economic productivity (as the CCL’s public statement infers) then we have a problem with the effectiveness of our post-secondary institutions. I’m not quite so sure about the correlation, and would not lay the blame on academia, but neither do I think that formal education is the key to economic productivity.

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