By Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College
Youth out-migration has been a challenge for our region for decades.
Some of this is natural. Many young people leave their home communities because they’re looking for new cultural or life experiences. This happens everywhere.
What is unique to our part of Ontario, however, is a lack of access to undergraduate education. Young people looking to earn an English-language degree have few choices but to leave our communities to do so. Many of these youth choose not to return.
We’ve been here before.
Combatting youth out-migration was one of the major factors leading to the creation of Northern College in 1967. We have been successfully educating youth in our area at the certificate, diploma and advanced-diploma level ever since.
We’re also well equipped to meet today’s demands for quality, undergraduate-level education. In fact, many of our application-based, three-year programs already meet standards for baccalaureate education.
Graduates of most career-specific, three-year post-secondary programs throughout North America and Europe already earn degrees. Ontario is one of the few exceptions to this rule, with graduates of three-year, college-based programs earning advanced diplomas.
It is time for the Government of Ontario to update our post-secondary credentials system to better match global standards by allowing Ontario’s colleges to offer three-year degree programs. Not only would this more accurately reflect the hard work of Ontario’s college graduates, it will also make it easier for people in Ontario to access undergraduate education.
It will also create new opportunities for northern youth by allowing them to earn a degree in their home communities, at Northern College.
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