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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2003

Privatization Boosts Quality

Victor Catano writes (Bulletin, June 2003) that "privatization threatens the quality of education." He's right - it threatens to improve it. Private institutions will compete for students, faculty and staff with subsidized public institutions. Students at successful private institutions will pay substantially higher tuition fees that, at a minimum, reflect the cost of the subsidy.

Students will not voluntarily pay higher fees for the same services they could get elsewhere. The differences in fees will need to reflect the difference in the level and quality of educational services offered by the competing institutions. Average quality will rise, provided the public institutions maintain their standards. I'm sure we can count on CAUT to help maintain those standards.

What Catano probably meant to say, and what surely galls him, is that "privatization threatens the equality of education." I would cheerfully agree with that assessment.

John Heaney
Business Administration, Simon Fraser University