Post-secondary education begins at home

There’s a lot of conversation about public policy as it relates to post-secondary education. But education isn’t just about public policy; it’s about encouraging children to excel and inspiring them to fulfill their dreams for the future.

I don’t believe it’s public policy that will motivate a child; it’s the education positive environment that she grows up in that instills in her the belief that achieving any dream is possible. It’s about what happens in families and with their children. I know. I have seven of my own. My hope for all of them is that they will achieve their full potential in life; and part of that is my hope that they will ALL pursue higher education.

Thinking about it. I put aside a little money every month in an RESP, from the time my children were born to when they graduate, it communicates two things to them in a tangible way: higher education is valuable, and they are expected to go.  As parents, we move from just talking about the value of education, to actually doing something to make it happen. And, in 18 years when my children are ready to go on to university, college or trade school, money will be there to make that possible.

Don’t misunderstand me: getting post-secondary education policy right is important for the long-term success of our society. But a well-funded post-secondary education system does little for the boy who, in grade 9, decides he will never go to college because the expectation just wasn’t there.

Addressing this requires long-term thinking, something many governments struggle with in a world of four-year election cycles. The Government of Canada ‘got it’ with the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond. But now provincial governments are starting to ‘get it’ too. Provinces such as Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and now British Columbia all have their own programs; demonstrating exactly the type of long-term, visionary thinking needed to get more kids into higher learning. CST Consultants is proud to say we were part of the dialogue to make these programs a reality.

There is something powerful – perhaps even transformative – in empowering families to take control of their future and turn their hopes and dreams into reality.

 

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis is Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at C.S.T. Consultants Inc. He is recognized as an expert with respect to education savings plans in Canada, and has addressed several parliamentary and senate committees on the important role RESPs play in improving access to higher education. As a proud father of seven children, three of which are currently in university, Peter has personal experience in the importance of saving for post-secondary education.

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