Top Ten

May 8, 2013

Global youth unemployment expected to continue to rise, says report

Youth unemployment worldwide is set to continue growing over the next 5 years, putting a generation at risk of lasting damage to job prospects and earnings potential throughout their lives, warns the International Labour Organization (ILO). In a new report, the ILO says it expects the global youth jobless rate to rise from 12.4% last year to 12.8% by 2018. The unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds has increased from 11.5% of the work force in that age group in 2007 as the recession took its toll. In the past, youth unemployment has in some nations risen quickly during economic downturns, but fallen quickly afterwards. This time, the length of the recession is causing particular problems. In the majority of nations in the OECD club of mostly rich countries, one-third or more of young job seekers has been unemployed for at least 6 months, up from one-quarter in 2008. The report suggests that in advanced economies, measures to curb the current trends should include education and training, work experience support, and recruitment incentives for employers. Strategies in developing nations might include training in literacy, occupational and entrepreneurial skills, and business support. ILO News Release | Financial Times | Report

uSask med school provides restructuring update

The first progress report in the implementation plan toward a new vision for the University of Saskatchewan's medical school was presented to University Council last month. Approved by Council in December, the vision document is meant to address long-standing challenges in the medical school, specifically surrounding accreditation of the undergraduate medical education program, poor research performance, and the provision of clinical service by uSask faculty. The acting dean of medicine reported on the continuing work of the Dean's Advisory Committee (DAC), which is guiding and overseeing the restructuring and renewal process. Multiple working groups have already prepared reports and the remaining documents will come together in the next month or so. The DAC will then be tasked with considering the recommendations put forward by each of the working groups and developing a comprehensive implementation plan. The plan will be made up of chapters of smaller plans, one of which will detail a faculty complement plan. Research will be another significant area addressed through restructuring. The college's interim vice-dean of research will put forward a detailed plan to faculty. After internal consultation, discussion, and fine-tuning, the plan will be finalized and shared with University Council. The Council will receive the next update on various chapters at its June meeting. uSask On Campus News

Niagara College reveals new strategic plan

Niagara College announced Tuesday the launch of its strategic plan for 2013-16, which sets a course for student success, innovation, and supporting regional economic development. Over the next 3 years, the college will focus on 3 key strategic priorities: providing unparalleled student experiences and satisfaction; leading in innovation and applied research; and operational excellence. Highlights of the strategic plan include growing enrolment to more than 10,000 full-time students; the construction of new facilities, including a Centre for Industry Innovation and an expanded Niagara College Teaching Brewery, and the addition of new teaching and student life spaces; expanding the institution's unique "learning enterprise" concept for experiential learning; and growth in international student enrolment and the creation of new international learning opportunities for students and staff. Niagara College News Release | Strategic Plan

Carleton launches microgiving platform

Carleton University's new Future Funder microgiving platform takes a page out of the books of crowdfunding success stories like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. The Future Funder platform allows people to browse through and pledge their support for one of many innovative student or faculty projects at the university. Until now, the crowdfunding model has yet to be employed extensively by Canada's education sector, but Carleton hopes that Future Funder can revolutionize the way people support PSE. The platform also maximized the potential of social media. With sites like Twitter and Facebook, each project can easily be shared with like-minded donors within personal and professional networks, building a larger group of supporters and expanding beyond the Carleton community. Carleton News Release

Report suggests TFWP could be distorting labour market needs

A new study from the University of Calgary suggests Canada's temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) "could be distorting" the natural supply and demand of the nation's labour market. The study's lead author says improving the balance in the labour marketplace does not require an increase in the labour supply. He suggests as part of the solution an improved immigration policy, one that could adjust intake levels with labour market needs and reduce the number of temporary foreign workers brought in. The report concedes there are labour shortages in specific industries and certain regions, but argues that Canadian youth need to be encouraged to pursue an education and careers in fields where jobs are available. The lead author says this could be done through government funding into educational institutions with programs that match labour market needs and tuition costs that charge more for study in a field in which there is already an excess of labour. uCalgary School of Public Policy News | Canadian Press | Report

PSE early intervention programs should reflect community needs, report says

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario argues that to be most effective, early intervention programs to help youth complete high school and transition into PSE need to be generated out of, and adapted to, the specific needs of the communities they serve. The report explores 6 diverse community-based early intervention programs in Ontario. Interviews were conducted with program founders and leaders to examine their program offerings and the impact on relevant populations. Previous HEQCO research has observed that Ontarians who come from low-income households, have parents with no PSE, reside in a rural area, identify as Aboriginal, and/or have a disability are less likely to pursue PSE. As these groups all have very different obstacles to access, the early intervention programs explored used a mix of services to cater their offerings to the unique needs of each youth. While some strategies were cleary focused on overcoming financial obstacles to PSE, they also addressed the aspirations and academic preparedness of their students. Most programs made an effort to incorporate peer support, which connected youth with others with similar backgrounds and/or challenges. While the report's authors found each program had a strong anecdotal case for success, they repeated heard from program directors of the challenges involved with systematic evaluations. However, the researchers found that a focus on measurable outcomes would offer students, community members, and researchers valuable insight into what works and how to best use limited resources. Research Summary | Full Report

Alumnus donates $1 million to uAlberta writer-in-residence program

PopCap Games co-founder and University of Alberta alumnus Jason Kapalka has made a $1-million gift to his alma mater in support of its renowned writer-in-residence program. He had already donated $100,000 in 2011 to endow a writing prize in the English and film studies department, named after his father Stephen, but Kapalka wanted to do more to express his gratitude. In addition to his $1-million contribution to the writer-in-residence endowment, Kapalka has provided a $100,000 gift to endow an award named after his friend Darren Zenko that will allow 2 or 3 students annually to attend the "Write With Style" course at the Banff Centre, and $10,000 in bridge funding for Glass Buffalo, the uAlberta student literary magazine, until it becomes eligible for Canada Council grants. Kapalka has even thrown in an extra $5,000 toward new furniture in the creative writing room. uAlberta News

uToronto top Canadian university in 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject

QS has released its 2013 World University Rankings by Subject. QS compared institutions across 30 subject areas, which are categorized under arts and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences. The University of Toronto is the top Canadian university in 20 out of 30 disciplines, followed by UBC in 6 subjects, McGill University in 3 subjects, and the University of Waterloo in one subject. 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject

Ontario expands Nursing Graduate Guarantee program to accept grads from other jurisdictions

The Ontario government is broadening a program designed to attract new nurses to the province. The government is expanding the Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which connects recent nursing graduates in the province to employers, to accept graduates from other provinces and territories. Also being developed under the program's umbrella is an initiative to help internationally trained nurses practice in Ontario. Nurses' groups welcome the news of the expansion, but say the program does not address a provincial trend of nurses transitioning out of hospitals and into community care, and job reductions over the past 2 years. Ontario's latest budget calls for freezing hospitals' base operating funding next year, which nurses' groups say will result in fewer registered nurses offering acute care in hospitals. Ontario News Release | Globe and Mail

Alberta diploma exams to go digital by 2017

Grade 12 students in Alberta will soon be able to write their diploma exams on a computer. The provincial government announced Tuesday that an electronic exam pilot, with digital marking, will launch in fall 2014, with a full roll-out scheduled for 2017. The exams will be widely offered 5 times a year instead of the current 2. Education Minister Jeff Johnson says the initiative is intended to make diploma exams more accessible for students who are enrolled in dual-credit courses, distance learning, or flexible programs. The new format should also make the process faster so students receive their marks sooner, Johnson says. Students could apply for scholarships sooner and the faster results might "help them to decide if they want to go to another country that might start their post-secondary at different times throughout the year," says an Edmonton high school principal. Johnson says the government has experts working to ensure the digital exams are secure, and that students will still have the option to write the exams on paper. Approximately 190,000 students write Alberta diploma exams each year. The exams are worth 50% of a student's Grade 12 mark. Alberta News Release | CBC | Edmonton Journal