BRANTFORD, ON, May 15, 2020 – Today, Career Colleges Ontario provided a written submission to the Minister of Colleges and Universities advocating for a blended approach to reopening Ontario’s career colleges upon the approval of government and health authorities.
The association submitted its response as part of its participation in ministry consultation with higher education stakeholders on May 7 and 14. The document responds to preliminary questions from the minister about the possible reopening of Ontario’s career colleges.
Though there is no current plan to open any of Ontario’s 646 career college campuses, student and staff safety must be paramount in any future plan to reopen or partially reopen institutions.
Consultations also seek to address the rising concern for stranded students who are unable to continue their education due to the outbreak. Career colleges have largely brought their classes online in response to the pandemic. However, colleges and programs in both the public and private sectors that are unable to make a practical transition to online learning have been forced to hit the pause button. As a result, there is a growing number of college students in Ontario who are unable to graduate.
When the ministry develops its plan to reopen career colleges, the association hopes it will allow for the “use of blended hybrid learning techniques until a vaccine is broadly available,” said Career Colleges Ontario’s CEO, Christopher Conway, in a letter to the minister.
The blended delivery model incorporates a combination of online and in-person training to uphold the quality standards and delivery of college programs. The model would allow career colleges to minimize student risk and fulfil their obligation to deliver high-quality, career-oriented training.
“It’s a necessary first step in any eventual plan to reopen campuses. It’s vital that measures are put in place early to discourage large gatherings and to follow advice from health experts,” Conway said.
CCO is a non-profit association advocating for the equitable treatment of career college students and a level playing field for its member institutions. The association represents 240 campuses and roughly 80 per cent of Ontario’s career college student population. CCO’s member campuses contribute to Ontario’s economy by providing highly qualified graduates in hundreds of essential, skilled fields such as Applied Arts, Business, Healthcare, Human Services, Information Technology, Services and Trades.
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