(TORONTO, July 7, 2020) – Ontario’s colleges are calling for a new provincial strategy for post-secondary education that will expand the range of degree programs at colleges, including the creation of career-focused three-year degree programs and master’s programs in specialized fields.
“Strengthening our workforce is central to Ontario becoming an economic powerhouse,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “The province should seize this opportunity to deliver major reforms that encourage more people to acquire specialized skills and expertise.”
The recommendation has been submitted to Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano’s recently announced consultations on modernizing post-secondary education.
The call for a new vision for post-secondary education follows the recent release of a white paper, “The Future of Ontario’s Workers,” by the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy. The white paper proposes measures to drive economic growth as Ontario emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.
The white paper calls for the province to give colleges the autonomy to decide independent of government what mix of credentials and programs will best respond to the evolving labour market and accelerating automation in the workplace.
The proposed post-secondary strategy would help fulfil Ontario’s transition to a performance-based post-secondary system by placing greater emphasis on graduates’ success. It would authorize colleges to:
- Create new career-focused three-year degree programs, replacing many of the current diploma programs.
- Expand the range of four-year degree programs at colleges to meet local demand without being restricted by arbitrary provincial maximums.
- Create master’s degree programs for university and college graduates for in-demand specialized fields such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation.
Colleges are also recommending the government provide more funding for short-term micro-credential programs to increase the retraining opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed.
“Ontario is well positioned to become a global leader in post-secondary education,” Franklin said. “Building on the college system’s many strengths, we can transform higher education to equip more people with the professional expertise that will be critical to success in this economy.”
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