Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/6/2009 (4497 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The policy is justified on the grounds that Manitoba needs dentists, and graduates who call this province home are more likely to remain. However, without the quota, over the past 10 years, 22 students on average have been from Manitoba. Implementing a quota of 25 would suggest a limited benefit.
Even though the change is not an explicit government policy, at least not one it is willing to admit publicly, it would certainly seem to reflect government goals, and the fact that it is tolerated is a policy all its own.
Similar schemes already exist in medical schools in every province except for Ontario. Yet, data from the Canadian Post-MD Registry suggests that Ontario medical graduates are almost as likely to remain as medical graduates elsewhere, while Quebec medical graduates are more likely to leave despite having a quota system.
As a barrier to people, admissions quotas are a particularly illogical form of protectionism. Rather than being shielded from competition, barriers such as this shield universities from paying students.
The federal government places a number of conditions on transfers for health care and social assistance, but not on education. Provinces cannot deny medical services or social assistance payments based on residency requirements. With education such discrimination is free to run rampant.
Given that federal transfers for education are drawn from the taxation of all Canadians, it should be appalling that provinces, or the universities they oversee, aim to limit the delivery of certain services to local residents.
Usually I am skittish at the prospect of the federal government intruding too much in higher education. One level of government micro-managing universities is enough.
Funding the education of dentists and doctors is expensive, but it is expensive for every province and space is limited everywhere. This can be mitigated through higher tuition fees or even the deregulation of tuition as Ontario has done with its professional schools. It is important for professionals to choose Manitoba as home, but achieving this goal falls outside the academic responsibilities of the university. What's more, if the logic is sound for dentists and doctors, why shouldn't it be sound for lawyers and engineers? Or business and science graduates?
The idea of a residency-based admissions quota is also at odds with the general goals and policy objectives of both the Doer government and the U of M. For one, the university salivates at the prospect of attracting students from outside Manitoba.
As for the government, any graduate, no matter where they are from, or where they graduated, qualifies for a tuition rebate so long as they live in Manitoba on Dec. 31 of the relevant tax year. Live in Manitoba for a day, and the province deems you eligible for thousands of dollars in tax credits. Apply to study to be a dentist or a doctor? Well, you better not be from Regina.
While university administrators are often quick to dismiss school reputation as evidence of the quality of education, reputation is not purely based on air.
Schools that are able to attract the best students begin a multiplier effect, as the existence of top quality students attracts other quality students, and so on. Limiting the pool of applicants to Manitoba residents stunts the ability for the university to build the best faculties it can.
Carson Jerema is completing a master's degree
in political science and is a former editor of