Toronto – While there have been noticeable signs of progress within Ontario’s postsecondary education system, some key questions related to the overall quality of the system remain unanswered, according to the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
The new arm’s-length agency of the provincial government today released its first Review and Research Plan, a multi-year strategy that assesses the existing body of research on higher education in Ontario, identifies information gaps and sets out the Council’s long-term research priorities under the themes of access, learning quality, accountability and inter-institutional cooperation.
“70 per cent of all new jobs in Ontario are expected to require education above a high school diploma and all indicators show that number will continue to rise,” said the Council’s Chair Frank Iacobucci. “But it is not just our jobs that are becoming more complex, so too are the requirements of citizenship. It is essential then that we understand how a good system of higher education might be made even better, in order to meet the social and economic challenges of Ontarians.”
Some of the Council’s research priorities outlined in the plan include: studying the full range of factors that influence students’ choice to attend higher education; examining ways to identify and promote best practices in teaching and student services; and understanding the factors that have supported the development of successful joint college-university collaboration.
“We need to know if the quality of teaching and learning is improving, if students are mastering the skills they require to succeed, and how Ontario compares with the quality of higher education across Canada and around the world,” explained Council President James Downey. “With the Review and Research Plan, the Council has taken an important first step to identify the ways we can build on established research and work with the entire sector to help answer these important questions and support the ongoing improvement of higher education in Ontario.”
“Compared to those with only a high school diploma, postsecondary graduates earn more money over their lifetimes, experience fewer and shorter periods of unemployment and are more likely to participate in the community as citizens and volunteers,” said the Council’s Vice President of Research Ken Norrie. “Ensuring the quality of higher education in Ontario will support the continued success and well-being of Ontarians.”
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Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario