Top Ten

December 6, 2011

Illegal private career colleges in Ontario remaining open, auditor finds

According to the 2011 annual report from the office of Ontario's auditor general, some unregistered privately owned career colleges that the provincial government had closed continued to operate illegally. The report notes that there are just 8 inspectors who are supposed to focus on admission requirements, advertising, instructor qualifications, insurance requirements, program compliancy, student contracts, and student complaints. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities acknowledges that, in order for inspections to be effective, between 150 and 200 of them should be conducted annually. However, when the auditor asked for a list of inspections completed during the last 3 fiscal years, ending in 2010, the MTCU could not provide one. It is estimated that, during 2010, 30 campuses were inspected and there were 20 additional visits to address specific issues. Office of the Auditor General of Ontario News Release | Toronto Star | Read the report

Ousted Kwantlen Student Association members consider legal action

Members of the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) board who were ousted at a meeting last week at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Surrey campus say they plan to take their fight to court if the "botched" and "unfair" situation is not resolved. The chairperson of the KSA board before the impeachment vote says she and several others have been suspended from Kwantlen. University officials have not confirmed or denied the suspensions, but they say an investigation into the matter is underway. The KSA president who was voted out by students says his group sent a complaint to Kwantlen noting the rising tensions and a perceived racism as all of the targeted KSA members are South Asian. "The university did nothing to protect us," says the former president in a news release. "Shockingly, they responded by banning our councillors from campus altogether, changing the locks on our office doors and handing the keys to the opposition group purportedly appointed on Nov. 30." The impeached executives want last week's meeting declared null and void. If not, the group vows to take its fight to the BC Supreme Court. Surrey North Delta Leader | Surrey Now

Student aid, degree granting legislation subject of Saskatchewan throne speech

In its throne speech Monday, the Saskatchewan government outlined plans to introduce a new Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship available to all new secondary school graduates beginning in 2012, as well as a new Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings to help parents save for their children's education. The throne speech notes that up to $120,000 in student loans for new doctors and up to $20,000 in student loans for new nurses and nurse practitioners will be forgiven for those agreeing to practice for 5 years in rural and remote communities in the province. The government will add a total of 20 new nurse practitioner training seats over the next 4 years, a 67% increase from the current 30 seats. The throne speech also outlines the province's legislative priorities, including the introduction of degree granting legislation to provide more opportunities for students while protecting the tradition of excellence associated with Saskatchewan degrees. Saskatchewan News Release | Throne Speech Highlights

BC launches $10-million Labour Market Sector Solutions Initiative

The BC government announced Monday it is making $10 million in skills-training funding available to provincial sector and industry groups over 3 years to allow them to play a leading role in creating new training programs to help meet labour market needs. Under the Labour Market Sector Solutions Initiative, the province is seeking funding proposals for training programs designed to meet current and future labour shortages. Industry-sector organizations will be able to get up to $500,000 per training project. Skills training programs will focus on unemployed people who have not had an EI claim in the past 3 years, or 5 years in the case of parental leave, or low-skilled people who do not have any PSE toward a university degree and lack a secondary school diploma (or equivalent); or who have a secondary school diploma (or equivalent) but do no possess any recognized certification. BC News Release

Study calls for better communication tools for rural and northern students in Alberta

A new study on the barriers faced by students from northern and rural Alberta communities found that more than 94% of students surveyed have researched PSE institutions or programs with the intention of improving their knowledge and skills, with the Internet being the most popular source for locating information. However, the majority of respondents believed they were not provided with enough resources about PSE opportunities, and only 30% were aware of the level of financial aid for which they qualified. The report recommends targeting prospective students, parents, and high schools with information about financial aid and PSE opportunities (including distance studies); reinstating the Alberta Opportunities Bursary and Northern Student Supplement programs; and developing communication tools to reach students from diverse backgrounds. Alberta Students' Executive Council News | Read the report

Lambton College unveils Fire and Public Safety Centre of Excellence

Last Friday, Lambton College officially opened its Fire and Public Safety Centre of Excellence. As a result of upgrades, the centre provides modern and spacious new classrooms; realistic scenarios, props, and facilities; experienced emergency services instructors; interdisciplinary training opportunities; a new 3-tiered chemical prop; and modern emergency vehicles and equipment. The project received a $4.9-million investment from the federal government under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and a matching contribution from the Ontario government through the province's 2009 budget. Lambton College News Release

Holland College opens Early Learning Centre

Last Friday, Holland College celebrated the official opening of its new Early Learning Centre at the Prince of Wales campus in Charlottetown. The centre allows students in the college's Early Childhood Care and Education program to train with a team of highly-skilled early years educators. Holland College hosted a privately run childcare centre for over 15 years, but the implementation of the provincial government's PEI Preschool Excellence Initiative provided an opportunity for the institution to become more involved in the provision of services and training. Holland College News Release

BVC announces $1-million donation at launch of new strategic plan

Last Friday, Calgary-based Bow Valley College unveiled its RGO Library and Learning Commons, whose naming commemorates a $1-million donation -- the largest in BVC's history -- from local philanthropist and RGO Office Products president Ross Glen. Along with the naming, the donation will be used to support learner success and fund innovation in PSE at the college. The donation announcement coincided with the release of BVC's Vision 2020 strategic document, which outlines a 5-point strategy: being a learning partner for life; delivering excellence in applied education; optimizing the college's community connectedness; advancing the diversity advantage; and growing the college's capacity for the future. BVC News Release (donation) | BVC News Release (strategic plan) | Vision 2020

$1-million gift pushes Sault College campaign past halfway point

Sault College announced Monday a $1-million gift from Essar Steel Algoma Inc., the largest ever private donation in the institution's history. In recognition of the donation, the college's new academic wing will now bear the name Essar Hall. With this donation, Sault College's "Inspiring Growth" capital campaign has now raised $3.2 million, pushing the campaign past the halfway mark toward the $6-million goal. Sault College News Release

JIBC eligible for NSERC funding

The Justice Institute of British Columbia is now eligible to apply for and receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. JIBC says the NSERC eligibility will help to attract researchers and projects from across Canada that will inform public policy, increase public awareness, enhance justice and public safety curriculum, and leverage learning technologies and methodologies. Earlier this year, JIBC's Office of Applied Research received eligibility status with the Canada Foundation for Innovation. JIBC News