TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's colleges are calling on the provincial government to act on the recommendation from Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) to create a growth plan for colleges that addresses the issue of college degree programs.
"The province must take action to encourage more people to pursue career-focused post-secondary programs," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "Allowing colleges to offer three-year degrees would be a significant step in promoting programs that help people find meaningful work."
Ontario's colleges currently offer four-year degree programs. However, Ontario is one of the very few jurisdictions in the OECD where graduates of three-year post-secondary programs earn advanced diplomas.
The colleges have been calling on the provincial government to elevate Ontario to international standards and allow colleges to offer career-specific three-year degree programs. As HEQCO says in a report released today, the issue "dominates current discussion" about differentiation in the college system and must be addressed.
It is particularly important to explore options to expand degree programs at the colleges as Ontario looks for solutions to the skills mismatch that is crippling the economy.
A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada found the skills mismatch costs Ontario as much as $24.3 billion a year in lost economic activity. The Conference Board report also said the skills gap costs Ontario $3.7 billion annually in lost tax revenues.
Many three-year programs at Ontario's colleges are already aligned with provincial standards for baccalaureate education. Expanding the range of degree opportunities at colleges will help to strengthen the qualifications of the province's workforce.
"HEQCO is right that Ontario needs a plan for college degree programs," Franklin said. "We are eager to work with government to act on this recommendation and create improved opportunities for Ontario's students."
SOURCE: Colleges Ontario
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