Increasing Access To Post-Secondary Education: An Economic And Social Challenge



    WORLD EXPERTS WILL EXAMINE THE ISSUE FROM APRIL 6 TO 8 IN TORONTO

    NEITHER A MOMENT NOR A MIND TO WASTE!

    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - Demographic pressures, labour shortages and
global competition for the recruitment of professionals and skilled workers
are requiring governments, post-secondary institutions and education leaders
to re-examine their strategies and practices with a view to improving access
to post-secondary education for segments of the population that have
traditionally been excluded.
    "Faced with this new challenge, it is in the interests of us all to share
our experiences and learn about the best practices of others," said Norman
Riddell, chief executive officer and executive director of the Canada
Millennium Scholarship Foundation. "This exercise is even more important in
industrialized countries, where post-secondary-school attendance by students
from medium- and high-income families is levelling out and where the economic
and social future depends on our ability to make higher education accessible
to populations that have been traditionally under-represented."

    WORLD TOUR OF EXPERIENCES AND PRACTICES

    To help Canadians better meet the major challenge of increasing access to
post-secondary education, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the
European Access Network (EAN) are organizing one of the most important forums
bringing together experts from Canada and many other countries, in Toronto,
from April 6 to 8. Speakers and delegates attending this international
conference, the theme of which is Neither a Moment Nor a Mind to Waste, will
be reviewing their experiences, successes and best practices in expanding
access to post-secondary education in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland,
the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and, of course, Canada.
    The conference speakers represent a wide range of Canadian and foreign
universities and specialized institutions, as well as organizations dedicated
to the development of careers and business groups.

    
    STRATEGIES TO BE REVIEWED AND URGENT QUESTIONS

    -   Are services to assist in the transition to post-secondary education
        adequately developed and relevant?

    -   Are the accessibility strategies of post-secondary institutions
        adapted to the current challenges of our societies?

    -   Can recruitment practices, financial aid and support services be
        improved to facilitate access for members of under-represented
        groups?

    -   Should partnerships among post-secondary institutions, schools,
        communities, companies and volunteer organizations be increased to
        enhance access?
    

    The conference speakers and delegates will consider these questions, as
well as many other aspects of the issue of accessibility to post-secondary
education. These include learning partnerships; career development and the
choice of study programs; increasing resources to boost enrolment; and an
analysis of national and provincial policies regarding accessibility.

    A BEST PRACTICES SHOWCASE

    An exhibit on best practices will be held in parallel with the
conference. This will include educational material and documents providing
participants with information about original initiatives or programs offering
new approaches to, among other things, the student retention rate,
school-company-foundation or community group partnerships, career development
strategies and government measures.

    CONCLUSIONS FOR KEY DECISION-MAKERS IN THE POST-SECONDARY TEACHING SECTOR

    The conclusions of discussions held during the conference will be
discussed during a day of reflection that will immediately follow the event.
Reserved for political officials, education ministry representatives, business
and labour leaders, NGO representatives, university presidents and college
principals from across Canada, this second part of the conference will shed
new light on the decision-making process needed to enhance accessibility for
members of groups that are under-represented in post-secondary education.
    The complete conference program is available on the website
www.neitheramoment.com or on the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
website at www.millenniumscholarships.ca.

    INFORMATION FOR THE MEDIA

    Media representatives who want to obtain accreditation for the Neither a
Moment Nor a Mind to Waste conference may obtain a registration form by
contacting Janet Sandor or Richard Vigneault. Reporters are welcome to cover
the entire conference from April 6 to 8, and to conduct interviews on site
with guests, experts and speakers.

    About the European Access Network

    The European Access Network encourages wider access to higher education
for those who are currently under-represented, whether for reasons of gender,
ethnic origin, nationality, age, disability, family background, vocational
training, geographic location, or earlier educational disadvantage. The EAN is
the only European-wide, non-governmental organization for widening
participation in higher education. It is organized for educational purposes
and operates under English Law. For more information about EAN visit:
www.ean-edu.org

    About the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

    The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent
organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998, with a mandate to
deliver bursaries and scholarships to Canadian post-secondary students until
the end of 2009. The Foundation provides students with opportunities to pursue
the post-secondary education they need to prepare themselves for the future.
To date, it has awarded more than 900,000 bursaries and scholarships, worth
some $2.6 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students. For more information,
visit www.millenniumscholarships.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Toronto: Janet Sandor, The Impact Group, (416)
481-7070, ext. 25, jsandor@impactg.com; Montréal: Richard Vigneault,
Communications, (514) 497-1385, rvigneau@videotron.ca

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CANADA MILLENNIUM SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION

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