Ontario universities say: Drummond report underscores importance of higher education to economy

TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario universities appreciate the focus on postsecondary education issues provided by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services, welcoming particularly the Commission's support for sufficient tuition revenue so that universities can continue to maintain the quality of the student experience.

"The Commission has emphasized that the province's economic growth and competitiveness depends on a strong postsecondary sector, which confirms the importance of the government's commitment to fund 41,000 new spaces for university students over the next five years," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President of the University of Guelph. "Through our own commitment to student success, quality and efficiency, Ontario universities will provide Ontario with talented graduates for the workforce and conduct research that drives economic and social change."

Currently, over 70 per cent of new jobs require postsecondary education, with a growing number requiring a university credential. Universities provide their graduates with the critical and analytical skills that are valuable to employers across all sectors and that are suited for the jobs of today and of the future.

As the Drummond report states, "The PSE system has produced impressive results despite significant challenges". . . including absorbing a 36 per cent enrolment increase in colleges and universities since 2002-03 while improving degree completion rates.

"The Drummond report has drawn attention to the need for efficiency in the broader public sector and universities are actively engaged in doing this," says Bonnie Patterson, COU President and CEO. "Universities are finding efficiencies by sharing best practices and participating in over 45 group purchasing schemes to leverage best prices. Universities are also containing costs by sharing services through a common application centre, a document and library transfer system, and a provincial online research portal. We are committed to doing more."

"The quality of students' educational experience remains the primary focus of our universities," says Patterson. "Many steps have been taken to enhance the attraction and retention of students by implementing a new Quality Assurance Framework, defining learning outcomes so students and others know what knowledge and skills they acquire from their degrees, and drawing attention inside and outside the academy to innovations in teaching."

COU will be reviewing the entire report and looks forward to discussing it with the government in the coming weeks.

Visit the Council of Ontario Universities website at www.cou.on.ca
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SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Jennifer Grass
Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-979-4341 or 416-707-6787
jgrass@cou.on.ca


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