TIMMINS, ON: Earlier today, Northern College President Fred Gibbons and fellow college presidents met with Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid to discuss the importance of online learning in post-secondary education and how expanding the availability of online learning options in Ontario will play an important part in increasing access to higher education and addressing the skills mismatch.
“The province needs a forward-thinking online strategy to help more people acquire the advanced skills they need to succeed in their careers,” said Gibbons. “Northern College is an advocate of barrier-free education and supports the notion of increasing the availability and breadth of online learning options. Strengthening online learning in Ontario will help produce more people with the qualifications and skills needed to find meaningful work.”
The colleges are calling for a significant expansion in the online programs and courses available through OntarioLearn, a consortium of Ontario’s colleges that registers more than 69,000 students each year and ranks as one of the largest providers of online course development and delivery in North America.
Other proposals to enhance student learning include expanding the availability of blended programs (combinations of in-class and online learning) at individual colleges and increasing access to the theoretical part of apprenticeship programs through e-trades models.
Online learning can help people in the workforce who can’t attend classroom settings upgrade their education and training. It can also better support students who do not learn at their best in traditional classroom settings, and help students seeking combinations of college and university education to complete their studies sooner.
Producing greater numbers of graduates with career-specific qualifications will help Ontario address the skills mismatch, which is the province’s most serious economic challenge. Although there are many people who are out of work, there are employers who can’t fill available positions because they can’t find qualified people. It is crucial that Ontario pursue opportunities to help more people attain post-secondary education and training, particularly in career-focused programs.
“By providing advanced, flexible online learning options, colleges are better able to meet the needs of our students, local labour force requirements, and the communities we serve,” said Gibbons. “We are eager to work with the government to make Ontario a world leader in online post-secondary learning.”
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Northern College of Applied Arts & Technology
4715 Hwy 101 East
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(705) 235-3211 ext. 2253