Lack of information helped undermine BC’s free-market PSE experiment

January 20, 2016

BC’s 2015 Private Training Act has brought postsecondary education “firmly back within the control of government,” writes Robert F Clift for Academic Matters, but it took 25 years of failed experiments in free-market education for the province to take such action. Clift goes on to chronicle several examples of what he views as “market failures” associated with the rise of private PSE institutions within BC. While he does not reject outright the concept of self-regulating markets, he argues that these markets are destined to fail when publics are not provided with the information they need to make good choices about enrolling in PSE. When governments do not force private sector educators to publish reliable data about their students’ outcomes, Clift argues that the market creates an “asymmetry between vendor and consumer” that will end any hopes of providing students with the education they need. Academic Matters