Ontario's Postsecondary Education System Sound But Challenges Ahead

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Releases Annual Review of Postsecondary Education

TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - Ontario has made significant advances in postsecondary participation and compares favourably to its peers in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development jurisdictions, according to a report released today by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The Third Annual Review and Research Plan(http://www.heqco.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/TARRP.pdf) provides an evaluation of postsecondary education in Ontario and summarizes HEQCO's research to date.

The report highlights a number of achievements related to postsecondary participation and quality.

    
    -   Enrolment in Ontario's postsecondary education system has grown
        significantly. In 2008-09 total full-time enrolment in Ontario's
        colleges was 193,420 compared to 182,404 in 2004-05. For
        universities, total enrolment in 2008-09 was nearly 364,000 students,
        compared to 330,374 in 2004-05.
    -   Based on projections, we expect that approximately 70 per cent of
        those aged 18-24 in Ontario will obtain a postsecondary credential.
    -   Student Satisfaction Survey results show that over 90 per cent of
        employers of college students consistently report that they are
        "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their employees' preparation.
        Graduates reported satisfaction rates ranging between 80 per cent and
        85 per cent.
    

"Considerable progress has been made in improving participation in postsecondary education in Ontario," said Dr. Ken Norrie, Vice-President of Research for HEQCO and the author of the report. "Our report demonstrates that we have one of the most educated workforces in the world."

The review also highlights significant gaps in data which make research and decision-making difficult for government and postsecondary institutions.

    
    -   There are no official tallies of the number of first generation
        students or Aboriginal students enrolled in postsecondary education
        programs in Ontario. Estimates exist, but they are based on different
        definitions and survey methodologies. Without this information, it is
        impossible to calculate meaningful participation and graduation
        rates.
    

"While much success has been realized, significant challenges still face higher education in Ontario," said Dr. Ken Norrie. "More work is necessary in order to develop a strategy to accommodate expanding enrolment and to secure adequate funding for the future needs of the system all while maintaining the high level of quality that Ontarians expect of their postsecondary education system."

The Third Annual Review and Research Plan is a comprehensive report on evidence-based research in higher education related to human capital, accessibility, educational quality, accountability and system design that is used by policymakers in Ontario and beyond. The review also outlines research priorities for the year ahead including supporting the government with evidence-based research as they implement the Ontario Online Institute and a significant increase in the number of international students accessing postsecondary education in Ontario.

About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is an arm's-length agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to ensuring the continued improvement of the postsecondary education system in Ontario. The Council was created through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005. It is mandated to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system, and provide policy recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities with a view to enhance the quality, access, and accountability of Ontario's higher education system.

SOURCE Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Jeff Rohrer, Communications Manager, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, (416) 212-5242, jrohrer@heqco.ca, www.heqco.ca

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Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

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