Canadians see value, quality in post-secondary education: polls

OTTAWA (CUP) – Two new Ipsos-Reid polls released last week suggest that a majority of Canadians are pleased with the quality of their post-secondary institutions and agree that higher education is crucial for success.

When asked to describe the overall quality of Canadian colleges and universities, 71 per cent of respondents rated it good or excellent in the first poll. Only three per cent suggested that post-secondary education in this country could be considered poor or very poor. However, only about a third of Canadians felt quality of the country’s institutions had actually improved over the last decade.

The second poll focused on Canadians’ views of the importance of post-secondary education as a tool for success: 78 per cent indicated that it will grow more important to finish a degree or diploma in the next five to 10 years in order to enjoy success in life. Interestingly, only 14 per cent of respondents said they were likely to or that they definitely would pursue higher education themselves in the next few years.

Additionally, almost two thirds of Canadians indicated that the current economy had no impact over decisions to pursue post-secondary studies. When those who weren’t planning on enrolling in university or college programs were asked what reasons brought them to that decision, only 24 per cent said that the cost of education was indeed an issue, while 35 per cent said their principal reason was simply a lack of desire to return to studies. Out of those who were intending to pursue higher education, obtaining credentials, career opportunities, and career advancement were the top three reasons to pick up studies in the next few years.

Each poll surveyed a sample of 1,493 adults online from Oct. 20-28. According to Ipsos Reid, results were weighted to balance demographics and more accurately reflect the makeup of the Canadian population. Before weighting, the survey’s margin of error was estimated at +2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.