Ed­u­ca­tion and health care sys­tems de­serve praise

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

I was a teacher for 32 years and, more re­cently, for 10 years a re­tired board di­rec­tor and con­sul­tant with the Nova Sco­tia In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent Pro­gram (NSISP).

I have trav­eled to dozens of coun­tries where I have vis­ited and ex­am­ined many school sys­tems. Es­sen­tially, my job was to con­vince par­ents to send their young chil­dren to study in Nova Sco­tia for five or 10 months to im­prove their English lan­guage skills and to ex­pe­ri­ence the “East Coast life­style” we are priv­i­leged to en­joy.

The stu­dents who come here are awed by what our pub­lic school sys­tem can of­fer and their agents who visit from around the world are as­ton­ished at our pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties, staff and ad­min­is­tra­tive train­ing lev­els, com­pe­tency, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and teacher ded­i­ca­tion to their jobs.

It is no won­der the NSISP has be­come very suc­cess­ful as a na­tional leader in this field and Canada is the top des­ti­na­tion for in­ter­na­tional high school stu­dents in the world.

If I had to ask you where you would pre­fer to have your child ed­u­cated, try to find a bet­ter place. Our sys­tem is not per­fect, but, on a world com­par­i­son, Canada pro­vides the high­est ranked English­based high school ed­u­ca­tion in the world. Bri­tish, Aus­tralian, and Amer­i­can schools (where they are still fight­ing about trans­gen­dered bath­room ac­cess) don’t com­pare.

In most coun­tries one can find an ex­cel­lent level of ed­u­ca­tion in a small num­ber of elite pri­vate schools. In Canada, we do this with 97 per cent of our chil­dren in pub­lic schools.

Un­for­tu­nately, just prior to Christ­mas last year I was in Spain when I suf­fered a se­ri­ous med­i­cal set­back. Thank­fully, my Span­ish con­tacts di­rected me to a univer­sity teach­ing hospi­tal in Madrid where the stan­dard of care was sim­i­lar to what is pro­vided here at home. I was lucky. There are many coun­tries in the world where you would NOT like to be ill.

Af­ter 13 days there I was de­clared fit to travel home. My treat­ment then resumed in Nova Sco­tia and fol­low­ing a bar­rage of tests and pro­fes­sional eval­u­a­tions I had surgery and should fully re­cover. My eight weeks in the Vic­to­ria Gen­eral Hospi­tal in Hal­i­fax gave me great in­sight into our health care sys­tem, a sys­tem that I had barely pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced. The lev­els of com­pe­tency, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and abil­ity were im­pres­sive, from the doc­tors (too nu­mer­ous to men­tion by name), to the nurs­ing staff and home care with the VON.

I would like to per­son­ally thank the urol­o­gists, ra­di­ol­o­gists, on­col­o­gists, and gen­eral and tho­racic sur­geons for their care, thor­ough di­ag­no­sis and pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise in their re­spec­tive fields. Their abil­i­ties are world class!

Yes, our health care sys­tem is not per­fect, but if you were forced to choose where would you pre­fer to be treated? It is never great to be sick, but what we have here is a great place to be sick if you have to be.

We should al­ways strive for im­prove­ment and it is im­por­tant to crit­i­cally an­a­lyze what we have. How­ever, in our quest to be crit­i­cal we can­not for­get what we have here in lit­tle old Nova Sco­tia is one of the finest ed­u­ca­tion and health care sys­tems in the world. Want­ing bet­ter and be­ing proud of what we have are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive.

I, for one, am ex­cep­tion­ally proud of this prov­ince we call home. Try to see it through the eyes of some­one who is not from here and you will too. Al­lan B. MacDonald Hal­i­fax

(for­merly from Port Hawkes­bury)

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