All Posts Tagged With: "Canadian Council of Chief Executives"
Business leader says that university and colleges need to reach out to adult learners, new immigrants
Canada must improve the educational outcomes of aboriginals and new immigrants in order to prosper in the global economy, according to the executive vice-president of The Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
“It is clear that Canada cannot rest on its laurels,” said David Stewart-Patterson in a keynote speech at an international conference regarding higher education access. “If we want to continue enjoying steady growth in our standard of living, we need to do better.”
The conference, titled “Neither a moment nor a mind to waste,” took place this week in Toronto and explored ways to improve student access and educational outcomes.
Canada’s economy has undergone a period of rapid growth in the last fifteen years from an economy “in which we did not have enough jobs for our people to one in which we cannot find enough people for the work that needs doing,” explained Stewart-Patterson. He added that ensuring access to higher education was once a moral imperative but is now an economic necessity.
“Far too many Aboriginals are not finishing high school,” he said, pointing to research by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy showing that Aboriginal people who complete high school have almost the same post-secondary participation rate as non-Aboriginal high school graduates. Stewart-Patterson called on the federal government to seize the “critical opportunity to demonstrate leadership and work with First Nations to find solutions that work.”
“This is the one group of students for which the federal government, rather than the provinces, bears primary responsibility,” he said.
Stewart-Patterson’s words are particularly relevant in light of the current dispute between the federal and Ontario governments over responsibility for the First Nations Technical Institute. The federal government recently withdrew funding for the institution, arguing that education is a provincial responsibility. After months of uncertainty as to whether the school would remain open, the provincial government stepped in with emergency one-time funding. But the province still maintains that the institution is the federal government’s responsibility.
Stewart-Patterson says that as Canada’s largest growing demographic, aboriginal youth are very important for the future of Canada. With the overall youth demographic expected to peak in 2012, Canadian universities must reach this group of potential students in order to maintain current enrolment levels.