Saskatchewan Community Colleges: A Shattered Dream (1971-1981)
Kalyn, Peter Gordon
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In Saskatchewan, the community colleges, as introduced in 1973, were heralded as being unique. Politicians, government civil servants and others stressed the unique philosophy and principles upon which these new institutions were to be based. This dream of something new, yet readily applicable to Saskatchewan, caught the imagination of many Saskatchewanians along with a good number of people outside Saskatchewan. Lifelong learning, access to educational opportunities and the worthiness of learning were to become the pillars for enhancing peoples' personal growth and development. These colleges would facilitate the decentralization of learning opportunities to rural Saskatchewan. The learner would determine the location, the type of services and programs offered through community colleges. These colleges would be autonomous within the designed system in order to accommodate the particular demands of individuals, organizations and communities. The college would be the community and the community would be the college. Government and its agencies would work in support of this idea. Colleges have operated for nearly ten years. In these years there has come to be a certain emptiness about colleges, their philosophy and how this philosophy has been implemented. This unique system was to have accomplished so much, but by the end of the first decade, there even appeared to be confusion over what the original philosophy was, what it meant and how it was to be carried out. The original architects of the Saskatchewan community college system were interviewed to determine their vision and thinking related to community colleges for Saskatchewan. Other people linked to this ideal were subjected to the same process. An extensive literature search supplemented the interviews and provided further background and explanation for the development of community colleges. Based on the findings from this research, the thesis argues that the original intent of Saskatchewan community colleges was altered by a change in government priorities and by the accompanying growth of the bureaucracy in the Department of Continuing Education.