TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The new Centre of Excellence for Online Learning (Ontario Online), announced today, will not address key barriers that prevent students from attending a college or university.
"Online education is not a fix-all solution for improving access to post-secondary education," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "For many students, studying online is their only option because they simply cannot afford to move to a community that offers their program of choice or because institutions are not equipped to support students with diverse learning needs."
In 2012, a controversial, leaked policy paper, titled "3 Cubed," indicated that the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities was interested in establishing an online, degree-granting institution in Ontario. The paper suggested that an online university and more online courses could help the Liberal government meet their platform commitments to increase the number of spaces in post-secondary institutions at a lower cost.
Ontario Online will not be a degree-granting body. Instead, courses will be offered through, and transferable across, the member institutions. The government will invest $42 million over three years in the project.
"Students should have the option of studying online, but additional online courses will not solve the crisis caused by government underfunding," said Woods. "With the lowest per-student funding in the country, the Ontario government needs to invest significantly in colleges and universities to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible."
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province's largest student organization, representing more than 300,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario