Colleges applaud recommendation for improved access



    TORONTO, Feb. 13 /CNW/ - The Ontario government should move forward on a
recommendation from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) to
create greater access to postsecondary education and particularly degrees,
Ontario's colleges said today.
    The HEQCO report, Degrees of Opportunity: Broadening Student Access by
Increasing Institutional Differentiation in Ontario Higher Education,
recommends students get improved access to degree programs and that colleges
should have greater flexibility to offer degree programs. The 37-page report
on institutional differentiation was released by HEQCO today.
    Its recommendation on access to degrees is particularly important in the
GTA, where the number of qualified students seeking to enter degree programs
is significantly greater than the number of postsecondary spaces available. As
well, as college enrolments continue to spike upwards in the wake of difficult
economic times, it is clear that more spaces and greater access will be
required in many parts of the province.
    "Giving some colleges a greater role in baccalaureate programming may
help to make access to the baccalaureate more equitable," the report says,
noting there would be improved access for people from lower socioeconomic
groups.
    "This is a tremendous opportunity for Ontario to provide higher education
to greater numbers of people," said Dr. Rick Miner, president of Seneca
College. "More people could get access to programs that would help them fulfil
their potential, regardless of their socioeconomic background."
    "As Ontario strives to meet the challenges of a difficult economy, the
government should move on this recommendation," said John Davies, the
president of Humber College. "This would mark a significant improvement in the
availability of postsecondary education in the GTA."
    The colleges are pleased that the report recognized the significant
accomplishments polytechnic institutions around the world have made to their
educational systems. It was disappointing, however, that the researchers chose
not to talk to the colleges in Ontario that are currently offering a
comprehensive polytechnic education to their students before coming to the
conclusions that they reached. The views and experience of the presidents of
some of Canada's most respected postsecondary institutions on the nature and
importance of a polytechnic education should not have been ignored.





For further information:

For further information: Sally Ritchie, Senior Communications Officer,
Colleges Ontario, (416) 596-0744, ext. 242


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