TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario universities welcome the opportunity to discuss recommendations
regarding the future of postsecondary education, as outlined in a paper
released today by Ontario's Progressive Conservatives.
The paper suggests that Ontario's colleges and universities need to
enhance their partnerships that allow students to move successfully
through the higher education sector, and prepare them for success in
life and the job market. Universities welcome this recommendation and
are already deeply engaged in improving these pathways for students.
"Ontario universities are proud of the hundreds of partnerships we've
already forged with Ontario's colleges. We are building on our record
of success and are engaged in new initiatives that bode well for the
future," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of the Council of Ontario
Universities (COU) and President and Vice-Chancellor of the University
Today, over 500 credit transfer arrangements exist between Ontario's
universities and colleges. Institutional strategic mandate agreements
submitted to government last fall outlined new initiatives that are
underway, and being planned, to help students streamline their studies
between colleges and universities and to transfer credit more easily.
Additionally, the new Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer
(ONCAT), has over 60 projects underway that involve new bridging
programs to help students move from one educational stream to another.
In addition, ONCAT is creating a more robust website to help students
understand the pathways that are available.
"Ontario universities are focused on preparing students for success in
many other ways as well, including reviewing academic programs,
designing curriculum with specific learning outcomes, and increasing
online and technology-enabled learning," Summerlee adds. Universities
are meeting the needs of students by offering a wide variety of
four-year programs, and all but four universities offer three-year
"It is important that we do not lose sight of the university's mission
to broaden the minds of this future generation of leaders - in this
ever-changing global environment, students want skills that prepare
them for life, whatever they choose to do," says Bonnie M. Patterson,
COU President and CEO. "Universities are not only preparing students
for the jobs of the 21st century, they are helping them to create their
own jobs, and jobs for others, through a wide range of entrepreneurship
initiatives and programs."
It's a strategy that is working. For students graduating in 2009 (the
most recent data available), 87.5 per cent of students graduating from
university undergraduate programs were employed full time within six
months of graduation and 84.8 per cent of college graduates were
successful in finding work within the same time frame.
Over the past 10 years, colleges and universities have worked hard to
meet increased enrolment demand, a demand that demonstrates that
students and their families understand the direct link between higher
education and obtaining a good, high-paying job. Statistics show that
two out of three students choose university, and they continue to apply
to universities in ever increasing numbers.
"It is gratifying that university students are reporting a high level of
satisfaction, and universities are experiencing higher retention rates
than ever before," says Patterson. "University admission averages have
held steady and are only modestly higher, despite the growth in
enrolment we are experiencing. This demonstrates our continued
commitment to access and that the high academic standards for entrance
to university have not diminished."
"We look forward to further dialogue with all political parties on the
balancing act between quality and access," Patterson adds. "It is
important that future directions for the sector be founded on clear
evidence of the data that underpins performance in the sector,
performance which sees universities highly productive and continuously
introducing innovative practices."
87.5 per cent of university students that graduated from undergraduate
programs in 2009 were employed full time within six months of
graduation and 93.1 per cent were employed full time within two years.
78 per cent of university students report that their educational
experience was good to excellent.
Universities have a graduation rate of over 80 per cent and colleges
have a rate of 65 per cent. Ontario universities have higher graduation
rates than the rest of Canada and the United States.
Ontario universities have developed an internationally recognized
Quality Assurance system for university programs.
Visit the Council of Ontario Universities website at www.cou.on.ca
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CouncilofOntarioUniversities
Follow us on Twitter at @OntUniv
SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities
For further information:
Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-979-4341 or 416-707-6787