Differentiation Policy and Access to Higher Education in Northern Ontario, Canada: An Analysis of Unintended Consequences
Keywords:Differentiation policy, Ontario, Educational policy, Higher Education
Differentiation policies have been implemented in Ontario higher education (HE) with the intent of manufacturing a more efficient and higher-quality system. Policy-makers have repeatedly touted their benefits, but the unintended consequences of differentiation policies remain neglected. Through this piece, we present a northern critique of differentiation policies grounded on the distance deterrence effects literature. We propose that differentiation policies threaten to exacerbate existing provincial north-south disparities in HE access, hampering human capital formation and economic development in northern communities. In addition, we specify some strategies to mitigate these detrimental effects and conclude by providing a conceptual framework through which to understand regional “blind spots” in differentiation policy.
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