I thought this ad campaign was pretty awesome. If nothing else, I think it's pretty ballsy to tell people they're being shitty parents. And I think it's almost certainly true that a lot of students end up in University because they a) didn't know what else they wanted to do, and b) their parents left them litle other options.
There's also the macro-perspective that we're producing way more undergraduates than this province's economy needs in any sense that their education = better performance. What it is doing quite clearly is devaluing the employer's opinion of university education at the undergraduate level.
Which leads to a whole new boom in Master's levels programs -- "grad work: the new undergrad!" -- so that HR departments have easy markers to sort the "qualified" from the not. The shame is that the number of people who can reasonably commit to 6 years of schooling after high school, and the $30,000 total cost, is not representative of the general population. Let's just say that my Master's program is a pretty pale collection of students. Not exclusively white, but damn close.
There's also a political economy thing here. Mike Harris created the double cohort, which caused a huge expansion of university undergraduates and, four years later, a huge expansion of masters applications. In both cases, there were large piles of public money being offered expansion of facilities, but somehow that translated in to massively larger class sizes and lower quality education for students.
Example: I can tell you without question that the difference between first-year assignments at Carleton for Communications undergrads was shocking: by my last year, first years were being asked to do final assignments half as long as the ones I'd written in their place in 2002. That meant five-page essays, which was less than I was doing in high school.
I'm sure it's possible to produce a university system that has a) high enrollment, b) near-perfect accesibility, and c) high standards. We've managed less than two of those three in Ontario, depending on how you score our accessibility. I don't know if re-directing some or much of the current student body to colleges instead would help matters. Given that these universities are almost certainly financing expansion on the assumption of further expansion (The university bubble! Llike Enron, but more pretentious!) I suspect even a modest shrinkage in enrollment would be nasty for the universities.
But what we're doing now ain't working.