793 Public or Private


Fred and Todd discuss the university systems of Canada, the U.S. and Japan.

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Todd: Hello, I'm here with Frederick. Now Frederick, you went to university in Canada?

Fred: That's right, Todd.

Todd: OK, and you have very strong views about universities in Canada. Can you please explain?

Fred: OK, well, let me just give you a general idea of how education works in Canada. We don't have private universities in Canada. They're all public. Now what that means is that the universities are owned by the government, so there is the Ministry of Education that's in charge of creating the curriculum for the universities and so there's not much room for flexibility and since it's a government operated institution, things don't move very fast. If you want something to be done then their workers do not have so much incentive to help you because he's a worker for the government, and so I think it's not very efficient, however there are certain advantages of public universities, such as the fees being free, you don't have to pay for your education and so it's open for everybody and that's also one of Canada's main idea is to provide free education to everybody, but the system is slow. It is inefficient and does not work that well.

Todd: But, yeah, I can see your point but in the United States we have many private universities and I think they're large bureaucracies also and maybe people don't act that much differently because somebody working for a private university, it's the same thing. They get paid for their job. I don't know if they're that much more motivated to help people. Also, we have a problem in the United States that usually only wealthy kids go to the best schools and it's kind of a problem actually.

Fred: I agree with you. I think that it is a problem because you're not giving the same equal access to education to everybody, only a few selected people can go to the best and the others go to the maybe less good universities. I agree with you that it's not easy but having only public universities might not be the best solution. Perhaps providing public university but also private university such as Japan for example where they have a system of private and public universities. Now, in Japan public university are considered to be the best and private universities are considered to be less good that public universities.

Todd: Right. It's the exact opposite in the States

Fred: So, as you see, it's hard to see which one is better.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

give you a general idea

Let me just give you a general idea of how education works in Canada.

'Give you a general idea' means that you get an overall description about something, but don't talk about anything specific.

Notice the following:

  1. I do not have all of the examples here with me, but it will give you a general idea.
  2. I can give you a general idea about how long it will take to paint the house.

there's not much room for flexibility

There is the Ministry of Education that's in charge of creating the curriculum for the universities and so there's not much room for flexibility.

'There's not much room for flexibility' means that there is not much chance that things can be changed.

Notice the following:

  1. When you work at a factory you have to be there on time, and there's not much room for flexibility.
  2. There's not much room for flexibility when have to wear a uniform everyday.

large bureaucracies

We have many private universities and I think they're large bureaucracies.

'Large bureaucracies' is a term to describe large administrative organizations.

Notice the following:

  1. Many governments are just large bureaucracies.
  2. I have worked for large bureaucracies in the past and I have never enjoyed it.

equal access

I think that it is a problem because you're not giving the same equal access to education to everybody.

'Equal access' means that everybody is given the same, fair chance to experience or do something.

Notice the following:

  1. I think that men and women should have equal access to job opportunities.
  2. Do you think there is equal access for everybody now when it comes to jobs?

exact opposite

It's the exact opposite in the States.

The 'exact opposite means' that it could not be more different.

Notice the following:

  1. I am the exact opposite of you. You have black hair and I have blonde hair.
  2. She went in the exact opposite direction to me.

 

Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
general • flexibility • bureaucracies
equal • opposite
  1. We have a lot to get done in this course, so there isn't much room for .
  2. One of the reasons that everything in this country is so slow is that there are too many .
  3. If I don't have a map, I naturally go in the exact direction that I should.
  4. We want all of our students to have access to the materials.
  5. I have your address, but could you give me a idea of where you live?