All Posts Tagged With: "Ontario"
Addressing teacher oversupply will please many in Ontario
Ontario’s government announced today that it plans to double the time students spend in teacher’s college to four semesters starting in September 2015. It will also increase the minimum number of days spent on placements from 40 to 80. And here’s the big news: it will cut admissions, starting that fall, by 50 per cent.
One reason for the dramatic change is the oversupply of education graduates. About 9,000 new teachers per year have been graduating in Ontario. Add in foreign graduates, many of them Canadians who went to U.S. schools, and there are about 11,000 teachers certified each year competing with each other and with graduates from previous years, while only 6,000 are needed.
The plan to double the length of the education was an election promise made by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals in 2011 and it’s a politically smart move for Premier Kathleen Wynne to follow through on.
Ontario offers support
The Ontario government says it has found common ground with the federal government and other partners to keep a world-famous experimental research area open in the northwestern part of the province.
The province says it will provide operating support and work toward an agreement so the “important science” conducted in the Environmental Lakes Area near Kenora can continue.
The remote region of 58 pristine lakes has been used since the late 1960s for groundbreaking freshwater studies.
Prof. Pettigrew on the Ontario PC Party’s plan
The conservative Ontario PCs have released a new policy paper on higher education. Amid the usual boilerplate rhetoric that conservative politicians trot out on such occasions was this little gem regarding student loans:
Decisions about who should receive loans and how much money is to be awarded should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour. Rewarding good behaviour means not only making the smart and efficient choice about where to go to school, but also keeping students accountable for how they choose to spend the money the government is lending them. To maintain aid, students must demonstrate a minimum level of academic success. Too often, our loans and grants programs reward mediocrity.
It takes a while for the magnitude of what is being proposed here to hit you. When it does, you realize that the PCs are proposing twisting the student loan system into a bureaucratic nightmare of nearly Orwellian proportions.
Prof. Pettigrew: student evaluations won’t help
A recent report from the Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter has got people talking about student teaching evaluations again. Hoo boy.
McCarter is concerned that evidence of teaching ability is not being taken into account when it comes to granting tenure and promotion to faculty. It’s a legitimate concern in theory. The problem is that this report takes student evaluations as a key method by which quality teaching should be measured. That’s trouble.
As the report rightly points out, the research on the usefulness of student evaluations is a subject of much disagreement. In fact, it’s actually even more hotly contested than the AG’s report admits. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) insists, for instance, that such surveys cannot be taken as a measure of teaching effectiveness.
CAUT may be trying to protect the jobs of its members. Still, student evaluations, from the outset suffer from a basic flaw which is that they often fail to meet a very basic standard for any evaluation. That is, an evaluator should be qualified to evaluate. More specifically, the evaluator should be an expert on the subject, should be motivated to take the evaluation seriously, and should be a disinterested third party.
Project will cost an estimated $70-million
Queen’s University announced today it will construct two new residences by fall 2015, adding 550 beds to accommodate a growing student body – and overflowing campus.
The university said in a release the new residences are needed to accommodate a “modest” increase in first-year admission for fall 2012. Queen’s previously expanded the Waldron Tower residence hall and currently leases rooms for graduate students at the downtown Confederation Place Hotel. The Queen’s Journal has reported over the last few years that common rooms have gone the way of the dinosaurs as enrollment at Queen’s has increased.
Construction on the new residences will start next year. Queen’s currently estimates the project will cost $70 million.
Bonus for future first-year students: The new space means about 20 common rooms in existing residences will be restored – and so will weekly Bachelor watching nights.
Nitro cocktails, a botched pick-up attempt & a Toronto killer
1. The Peak student newspaper at Simon Fraser University is warning students against cocktails containing liquid nitrogen, which is added by some daring bartenders who want to impress drinkers with the ensuing cloud of vapour. The reason for the warning: The Daily Mail newspaper says a British student who chugged two “Nitro Jagermeisters” ended up with a perforated stomach. Ouch.
2. “It wasn’t exactly the most successful pick-up attempt,” writes Julian Uzielli of Western’s University’s The Gazette. A student briefly lost consciousness and was taken to hospital last Wednesday after being injured in The Spoke pub. “He basically tried to pick up a girl really high in the air, and she fell on him, and he fell backwards and he hit his head,” student Tony Ayala told the newspaper.
3. People in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, not far from Ryerson University, are frightened by a killer who stabbed a woman, in her 50s, early on Tuesday. Toronto police released this security camera footage of the victim being followed around 7 a.m. The suspect is a white male.
A fake medical student, a fake gun & Dalton McGuinty
1. After nine years as premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty stepped down last night and prorogued the legislature. By 9 p.m., the newspapers had stories suggesting he’ll run for the federal Liberals against Justin Trudeau. Paul Wells writes that he would be astonished by that. “But then, McGuinty has already astonished me once tonight,” he adds. Wells explores the Teflon Premier’s legacy and examines a (possibly) telling recent speech.
2. A man rejected from medical school at New Zealand’s Auckland University decided to go anyway. He spent two years attending classes, labs, and hospital placements and was only caught when a classmate put his name on a group assignment.
3. A 28-year-old woman who was walking to the University of Windsor Monday was told by a man carrying a fake gun to hand over a computer bag. The woman described the gun as “two sticks taped together.” The University of Windsor Campus Police arrested and charged a 21-year-old.
Students should be outraged about this misuse of funds
Quebec student leaders and their Ontario band of brothers are hoping to light a fire under students in Canada’s most populous province.
And indeed, Ontarian students have a good reason to be outraged. But it’s not that they’re being asked to shoulder more of the cost of their educations, as the student leaders would have them believe.
Instead, they should be outraged that their money is funding a working vacation for people like Quebec protest leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Proposals put forward in government paper
The government of Ontario is considering a swath of changes to its post-secondary education system, including mandating shorter bachelor degrees and making all first and second year credits transferable to any university in the province, the Guelph Mercury is reporting.
The newspaper cites a government discussion paper, to be released Thursday, that floats these ideas, along with suggestions to increase the availability of online learning and scheduling degree programs to take place year-round, rather than just two semesters.
“The transformation is required because the world we live in, and the world colleges and universities live in, is dramatically different, and the role (of post-secondary education) is different and larger than it ever has been,” Glen Murray, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, told the Mercury.
According to the newspaper, the proposal states that it’s time “to modernize our post-secondary education system in a way that will make it more relevant, more flexible, and more beneficial to Ontario students. … It will grow our economy and, by modernizing the system and increasing its productivity, we can reduce the cost to the public.”
Former health minister in the spotlight again
Former Ontario deputy premier and failed Toronto mayoralty candidate George Smitherman made $158,833.32 as a “special adviser” to the president of Ryerson University last year, reports the Toronto Star. Adam Kahan, a Ryerson vice-president, told the newspaper that Smitherman’s work included introducing university officials to “senior decision makers in various industries.”
Smitherman, the Liberal Minister of Health from 2003 to 2008, became well-known after dogged criticism of his management of eHealth Ontario. Auditor General Jim McCarter said in 2009 that the province had wasted $1-billion on the eHealth agency over the previous decade. When the report was released, the leaders of both opposition parties asked for Smitherman’s resignation.
Occupier says he was unfairly targeted
A 44-year-old man who participated in a protest at Western University has been banned from the campus for one year, reports the London Free Press. Mike Roy was protesting an Israel On Campus event at the University Community Centre on Feb. 2 when he and about 25 other demonstrators were asked to leave. The protest, while peaceful, was unauthorized. Roy is a contributor to the campus radio station and has acted as a spokesperson for the Occupy London Movement. He says he was unfairly targeted and has started a petition to have the ban overturned.
Many profs and admins in top one per cent
Ontario’s annual Public Sector Salary Disclosure has been published. The so-called Sunshine List reveals the compensation paid to every public employee who made $100,000 or more last year.
Of the 79,000 employees on the 2011 list, 13,819 work for universities. That’s not surprising, considering it was revealed last week that Canada’s professors are the world’s highest paid.
What’s surprising is how many university workers have crossed the threshold between five and six figures. The $100,000-club has grown by 32 per cent in just three years.
While the majority of university employees on the list earn just over $100,000, a substantial number—1,750—made $170,000 or more, which puts them in the top one per cent of Canadian earners.
Among them, 746 reached $200,000, 97 made more than $300,000 and 15 topped $400,000.
William Moriarty, president of the University of Toronto’s Asset Management Corporation, is once again the highest paid university employee in Ontario at $655,995.
The presidents of Waterloo, Western, York and Guelph all topped $400,000.
The Sunshine List was released ahead of Ontario’s provincial budget on Tuesday.
Tuition will rise, but new grants will stay
Ontario students got good news and bad news from the provincial government today.
First, the good news. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities rejected economist Don Drummond’s recommendation to scrap the tuition grants introduced in January. University and college students will continue to get $1,600 and $730 off respectively next year.
The bad news: tuition will be allowed to rise by five per cent again next year. The Canadian Federation of Students and the College Student Alliance expressed disappointment at the news.
Minister Glen Murray also said that, contrary to reports, “no changes are being contemplated that would require all universities to set standard tuition fees for arts and science programs.”
Unions demand too much in era of high unemployment
How terribly drôle it must be for recent education graduates with a seat to the teacher contract disputes in Ontario and British Columbia.
In the province of Ontario, the teacher’s federation is busy expressing its “insult” at the latest government contract proposal to freeze their wages, which top out at around $95,000.
Meanwhile, as many as two-thirds of education grads in the province are under- or unemployed.
Students and taxpayers could benefit from a fork in the road
University presidents, student federations and faculty associations rarely agree about much.
But they joined forces last week to bash an Ontario government proposal for three-year bachelor degrees.
The opponents argue that graduates of three-year programs won’t develop the critical thinking and research skills that those with four-year degrees have mastered. That seems obvious.
Ontario grapples with deficit
Banking guru Don Drummond will recommend that Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario Liberals scrap the 30 per cent Ontario Tuition Grant that came into effect just last month, reports the Toronto Star. The former TD Bank chief economist will release a 700-page report on Wednesday that will help the Liberals chart a course to paying down Ontario’s $16 billion deficit. The report suggests spending will need to be limited to just $6.3 billion over the next five years or just 0.8 per cent more per year. That’s an enormous task considering that spending has risen from $83.5 billion in 2005-06 to $124 billion last year. The 30 per cent off tuition grant offers roughly 300,000 college and university students a rebate of $730 or $1,600 each. The program costs nearly $500-million per year.
CFS and opposition want credit extended to all families
Despite Ontario’s woeful fiscal situation, the Liberal government says it will make good on its promise to offer 310,000 students tuition rebates—$730 per college student and $1,600 per university student. At $6,500, Ontario has the highest average university tuition in the country.
Those receiving Ontario Student Assistance Program funding will automatically get the rebates in January, which will be credited online in time for second semester payments, according to CTV News. Other students will need to apply through a website that will be available in January.
Five out of six families with students will be eligible for the rebate—but families who make more than $160,000 will be left out. The Canadian Federation of Students presented a 40,000-signature petition to the legislature asking for the $423-million annual cost of the rebate program pay for a 13 per cent reduction in tuition fees for all students instead. The opposition New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives agree that all students—not just some—should get a break on tuition.
*Editor’s Note: In a comment below, Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, addresses who is eligible for these particular grants. The 30 per tuition reduction applies to students who are within four years of high school graduation, registered in a first-entry undergraduate university or college programs, and from families with incomes lower than $160,000. He notes that there are other provincial programs available for other students.
Glen Murray sees dramatic changes ahead for Ontario
Ontarians are busy debating where the province’s three new post-secondary campuses should be, with mayors from Barrie to Niagara Falls holding out their caps. But ahead of that decision, Glen Murray, Ontario’s new Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, says there all kinds of ideas he wants to explore first. Those who lust after future campuses should take note.
Here are 10 things I learned about the future of higher education in Ontario from Glen Murray.
1. Murray’s biggest concern “is how we’re utilizing the existing capacity we have right now.” He thinks more campuses should be using their physical resources year-round, by offering three-semesters, perhaps.
Pledges millions for new campus
The City of Barrie approved a preliminary motion Monday to ask Ontario’s government for the province’s next university campus, reports the Barrie Examiner. City council will also commit $14-million toward a new campus of Laurentian University that would cost roughly $60-million to build. Laurentian itself has committed $14-million. The proposed campus would house 3,000 students and open in 2020. Barrie is estimated to have grown by one-third in the past decade to 135,000 people according to the City, with 191,000 in the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in 2010, according to Statistics Canada. That makes it the biggest CMA in Ontario, by far, without a university. The Ontario Liberals promised three new campuses during the October election campaign. Ontario will need to add between 50,000 and 104,000 new undergraduates seats by 2025 to meet the growing demand for degrees, according to the new book Academic Reform.
Who gets the highest marks?
The Canadian Federation of Students has released a report card for each of the four party leaders who hope to be premier of Ontario after the Oct. 6 election. They graded them on tuition fees, funding, research and student debt.
The CFS has long lobbied for lower tuition fees. Here’s how the parties were graded on that measure: The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives got Fs for tuition, because “the Liberals have increased fees by up to 59% since 2006,” and because “the PCs have not made any commitments to regulate, freeze or reduce tuition fees,” writes the CFS. They gave the New Democrats a B, because “the NDP has promised to freeze college, undergraduate and graduate tuition fees if elected.” The Greens got a C+ for their plan is to freeze tuition fees and then allow them to grow with the rate of inflation.
Overall, they gave the Liberals a C+, the PCs a D, the New Democrats a B+ and the Greens a B-.
It’s worth noting that students care about more than just education issues. In a poll for the Historica-Dominion institute before the federal election in April, students were asked to rank their top concerns. Only 18 per cent put “paying for my post-secondary education” in their top-three list. Health care, military and economic conerns were all ranked significantly higher by those polled.