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Dec. 7, 2006 Ottawa—The Canadian Council on Learning today released a report that calls for concerted national action on the challenges facing Canada’s post-secondary education sector. The report titled, Canadian Post-secondary Education: A Positive Record – An Uncertain Future, warns that without action, the country’s long-term productivity and continued prosperity are at risk.
The report reveals that the challenges confronting the post-secondary education (PSE) sector go far beyond any need for greater human and financial resources. Among the report's national-level recommendations are:
These steps are key elements in increasing the quality, capacity, responsiveness and effectiveness of post-secondary education, and must be done in a way that respects jurisdictional responsibilities.
“We have been well served by our post-secondary education sector and as a result, Canada boasts one of the world’s best-educated populations. But in order for us to advance as a country, we need to know whether progress is being made and where there are problems,” said Dr. Paul Cappon, President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning. “To do that, we must first decide where we want to go as a country, how we can get there and then be able to measure whether we are succeeding.”
Many leading industrialized countries have already recognized and responded to this challenge. Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have adopted national strategies to ensure their post-secondary education sector adapts and responds to the demands of the knowledge-based economy. In the United States, the federal Secretary of Education created the Commission on the Future of Higher Education with a mandate to develop a national strategy for PSE. In addition, the 30 members of the European Union have agreed on grading systems, credit transfers, mobility and quality assurance standards. “Canada lacks a shared vision, and there are prominent gaps in the information and analysis of post-secondary education. This is preventing us from identifying problems and developing appropriate and innovative solutions,” said Dr. Cappon. “If Canada’s partners in education—governments, post-secondary institutions, employers, educators and learners—work together, they will not only make taxpayers’ investments in PSE more effective, they will secure Canada’s future productivity and prosperity,” he added.
The report emphasizes that Canada’s approach to PSE must include young people headed for university and colleges, as well as support for apprenticeships, adult literacy, workplace learning, technical skills training and university research. CCL undertook the study to inform Canadians of how well Canada’s post-secondary education and training sector is meeting Canadians’ social and economic objectives, its ability to respond to a fast-changing global environment and how Canada’s approach to higher education compares with other major developed countries.
To learn more about Canadian Post-secondary Education: A Positive Record – An Uncertain Future, visit: www.ccl-cca.ca/pse
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The Canadian Council on Learning is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded through an agreement with Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Its mandate is to promote and support evidence-based decisions about learning throughout all stages of life, from early childhood through to the senior years.
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