By Brooke Timpson
Post-secondary education is about to get a “made in Ontario solution,” according to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Brad Duguid.
Currently in it’s third-year of implementation, the government is making progress towards a province-wide credit transfer agreement. With 55 credit transfer agreements already in place at the college and university level, the province is hoping to have every post-secondary school onboard by 2015.
“I’ve had a lot of students explain to me that when they apply to new institutions, they aren’t sure if some of the credits they already have could apply to their new program and by the time they find out, it’s usually too late,” said Duguid.
With $73.7 million of funding for the estimated five-year process that began in 2011, the government is hoping to take credit transfer agreements to what the minister describes as “a new level.”
“It’s good to have agreements in place, but transparency and consistency are the important objectives of this project,” said Duguid.
To ensure that transparency is at the forefront of any institutional changes, a few measures have been put in place by the ministry.
The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) was created and consists of experts with various backgrounds in education.
The council established the website www.ontransfer.ca to provide clear information on the current transfer options that are available for students. Students are able to view different pathways to upgrade, complete or change their education.
A Credit Transfer Agreement Fund has also been established with ministry funds to improve and expand various pathways between colleges and universities with an emphasis in research and what the province deems “in demand areas.”
At the union level, the College Council has been asked to create a Joint Task Force.
Joint Task Forces are required by the union’s collective agreement when there is a significant change to a colleges’ mandate, according to a news release published by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The task force aims to mitigate potential negative impacts of any changes to the faculty and to make sure the changes to the objectives are met.
If all goes smoothly, this transfer agreement has the potential to be groundbreaking in North America.
“Often Ontario is a model in North America,” explained Duguid.
“While things like this are different in different areas, I’m not aware of any other jurisdictions that are doing what we’re doing. We will be a leader in North America.”