Top Ten

November 25, 2009

Canada must develop clearer standards about quality PSE

In order to remain competitive and avoid the risk of lagging behind other nations, Canada must formulate clear and common goals and priorities with regards to higher education, argues a new paper from the Canadian Council on Learning. The report states that defining and demonstrating quality in PSE will allow Canada to develop the standards necessary to measure the sector, report on its different facets, improve on its weaknesses, and celebrate its successes. Clearer standards and information about quality could make it easier for institutions to compete globally, and for domestic students to evaluate the many education options available to them in Canada. The paper is the first in a new series of monographs from CCL titled Challenges in Canadian Post-secondary Education. CCL News Release | Read the full report

$20 million for bridge training programs in Ontario

The Ontario government announced yesterday it will invest over $20 million in 16 projects to help close to 5,000 newcomers receive the training and supports they need to work in their field. One project getting funding is the new Mississauga-based Pathways to Employment in Biotechnology bridge training program, offered jointly by the University of Toronto and Astra Zeneca. Ontario News Release

BC committee recommends province consider lowering student-loan interest rate

In a recent report on budget consultations, BC's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommends the province consider reducing the interest rate charged on student loans, as well as extend the no-payment, interest-free period on the loans. The committee also suggests BC investigate the merits of using the Higher Education Price Index, rather than the Consumer Price Index, in regards to PSE funding allocation adjustments. Other recommendations include assisting schools in their efforts to expand their distance/online curriculum offerings, enhancing apprenticeship opportunities, and working with transit authorities and institutions to develop U-Pass programs where feasible. Read the full report

University officials discuss campus anti-Semitism at parliamentary inquiry

Representatives from York, Concordia, Ryerson, uToronto, and uOttawa participated in a hearing Tuesday as part of the Canadian Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. The officials testified on their perspectives of anti-Semitism on campus, and what senior administrators are doing or hoping to do at their respective institutions to address incidents of hatred. One particular topic brought up by MPs on the panel was Israeli Apartheid Week, which the witnesses acknowledged can be a source of tension at their respective schools. However, the representatives stressed that removing IAW would counter the mission of universities to foster academic freedom and promote open dialogue. Canadian Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism

Manitoba municipalities support push for Brandon U medical school

At its annual general meeting on Monday, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities passed a motion to ask the provincial government to support the creation of a medical school at Brandon University. The association is concerned about a shortage of doctors in Manitoba, particularly in rural areas, and it argues that if students can be drawn from rural communities to train at a medical school in Brandon, they will be more likely to return to their hometowns to set up practice. Brandon U president Debra Poff told the AMM that a medical school could be run independently of the University of Manitoba, or possibly operate as an equal partner or a satellite of uManitoba. Canadian Press

More Canadian parents saving for children's future education

According to new data from Statistics Canada, in 2008, 68% of children up to the age of 17, whose parents expected them to go beyond high school, had savings for their future education, up from 52% in 2002 and 43% in 1999. Of children with savings put aside for their education, 69% had savings in RESPs in 2008, compared to 55% in 2002 and 42% in 1999. The StatsCan survey also notes that children whose parents had a post-secondary education were almost twice more likely to have savings than children with parents who had less than a high school education. Statistics Canada

Grenfell report co-author criticizes autonomy delay

An Irish academic who co-authored a report recommending that Sir Wilfred Grenfell College be granted university status is frustrated by the Newfoundland and Labrador government's lack of progress on the file. John Kelly dismisses recent comments from the province's education minister that certain organizational measures need to be in place at Grenfell before legislation can be amended to grant the college the autonomy it seeks. "That's an excuse for doing nothing." Kelly hopes the plan is to still grant full university status while retaining affiliation with Memorial University, and not just to give Grenfell more autonomy than it currently has. Western Star

Polytechnics Canada hosts Science and Technology Showcase

On Friday, Polytechnics Canada will present its fourth annual Science and Technology Showcase at Seneca College's Markham campus. The Showcase will feature examples of research achievements and solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises by student researchers, which will help Polytechnics Canada present ideas for improved funding to SMEs and colleges, which Ottawa is being urged to consider in the next budget. The one-day event will include a keynote speech from Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear, and a panel discussion on the importance of polytechnic research in developing graduates as industry innovation leaders. Polytechnics Canada Media Alert | Conestoga News Release

Bloc student club founded at uOttawa

A group of University of Ottawa students has started the first Bloc Québécois student club outside Quebec. A third-year political science student founded the club in September as way of promoting the Bloc's separatist ideas on campus. As an official campus club, the group receives $1,000 in subsidies and access to other resources, such as free room rentals. The club's founder has recruited 25 members so far, but also encountered some resistance from students who feel their fees should not support a separatist political group. The clubs co-ordinator for uOttawa's student federation says she has not received any complaints about the club being approved. CBC

New website helps students research Canadian art schools

"Art School Reviews" is a relatively new website designed to help prospective students determine which of the many art schools and programs in Canada are best suited for them. The site gives current students and graduate the chance to share their perspectives on the arts programs in which they enrolled. Visitors to the site can look up reviews by school or by industry. The website currently has reviews for 2 dozen schools in Canada. Adventures in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (Dale Kirby's blog) | Art School Reviews