According to Joachim Stroink, Liberal Party candidate for Halifax-Chebucto, the biggest issue facing students is job security.
“We have an incredible province, and we need to ensure the success of students when they graduate so they can stay here,” he said.
To entice students to stay in the province, he referred to Liberal programs such as, the Graduate to Opportunity program, payroll rebate, and provincial student loan debt forgiveness. The interview started like it was going to be right out of a Liberal public relations manual.
Until he turned the questions around.
He asked me, “Why do you think [a university education] doesn’t do what it used to?”
My answer? That high school used to be enough. Now students are encouraged to go to university because a degree is supposed to lead to success afterwards. So, more people are getting degrees, and as a result, there’s a plethora of people with undergraduate degrees.
It used to be that university degrees cost less and resulted in better jobs. Now they cost more and are almost a requirement for entry level positions. A market surplus has devalued them. The proliferation of undergraduate degrees has also made them almost mandatory.
For Stroink, the cost of university is worth it.
“University was a nightmare. But it was forging on and working through that, that taught me a life lesson. The life lesson was so valuable that it gave me the strength to become an entrepreneur. I mean, I have a degree in geography,” he says with a shrug. “I think the skill base and the foundation prepares you for life.”
“I think in today’s society we still have this need to go to university, but I think we can take other paths that lead to a middle of above income, and it’s not necessarily university,” says Stroink.
Maybe university isn’t broken, maybe our approach is. Stroink wants to help people who don’t take the university route to achieve greater success. He’s been pushing for things like the Cultural Link, COVE incubator, and Leeway Marine
“My big vision is for Nova Scotia to be the world leader in ocean sciences and ocean technology,” he said. “With that and the support side of that, there are so many opportunities for jobs.”