Toronto, February 13, 2009 – The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) today released a new research paper, Degrees of Opportunity: Broadening Student Access by Increasing Institutional Differentiation in Ontario Higher Education. Prepared by higher education scholars Glen Jones and Michael Skolnik, this paper was commissioned to determine whether there are significant gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system with respect to education and research activities and, if so, how these gaps might be addressed.
“Examining the design of Ontario’s postsecondary system is a key component of HEQCO’s mandate,” said Dr. Ken Norrie, vice-president of research for the Council. “Ontario’s higher education sector faces several significant issues, including growing enrolment demand, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and the need to provide educational opportunities that respond to the province’s economic needs. Degrees of Opportunity is an initial attempt to tackle these challenges by examining the current design of the postsecondary system.”
Jones and Skolnik conclude that Ontario’s higher education system could benefit from several new types of postsecondary structures including: teaching-oriented institutions that focus on undergraduate education; collaborative programs; an ‘open university’ that enables learners to combine credits from different institutions and learning experiences; and greater pathways for college students to attain a bachelor’s degree and continue on to graduate study.
“In today’s economy, we can’t rest on our laurels. Our research is aimed at ensuring we know how our system of higher education is working and what needs to be done to keep it working well,” said Dr. Norrie. “Our review of the system will look at the full range of opportunities that Ontarians need in order to be competitive in the knowledge economy.”
This paper is the first of a series of research projects and stakeholder consultations that HEQCO plans before developing its advice to the Minister on system planning issues.
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. 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.
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