Three-Year Degrees at Colleges Will Help Produce a Stronger Workforce
Ottawa, March 31, 2014 – Presidents representing Ontario’s colleges at a skills summit in Toronto hosted recently by Premier Kathleen Wynne stressed the need for government to allow colleges to offer three-year degrees.
“We must encourage more people to pursue post-secondary programs that prepare them for meaningful careers,” said Ms. Lise Bourgeois, President of La Cité, the college of applied arts and technology. “A decision to allow Ontario’s colleges to offer three-year degrees will help colleges attract more students and produce the highly qualified workforce that is needed in this economy.”
The Summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy took place on March 18 at Queen’s Park. Cabinet ministers, college and university presidents, business leaders and others were among the participants at the summit.
Currently, colleges offer four-year degree programs that meet the provincial standards of baccalaureate education. However, the province requires colleges to award diplomas to graduates of three-year programs.
A decision by the government to allow colleges to offer three-year degrees would recognize the sophisticated teaching and learning that is offered in Ontario colleges’ advanced diploma programs, much of which is consistent with Ontario and international baccalaureate standards.
As well, three-year degrees would help meet employers’ demands for graduates who combine degree credentials with the high level of skills and education required to succeed in increasingly demanding careers, both in Ontario and beyond.
In most OECD countries, graduates of three-year post-secondary programs – including career-specific programs – are awarded degrees.
Providing a greater range of career-specific degree programs is important as the province strives to address the skills mismatch. Many people – particularly young people – are unemployed because they don’t have the skills and qualifications to fill available positions. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the skills mismatch costs Ontario more than $24 billion a year in lost economic opportunity.
Growing numbers of students recognize that college education can prepare them for the available opportunities. Enrollment in Ontario’s colleges is at an all-time high and the number of university graduates enrolled in college has increased by more than 40% from five years ago.
“Ontario’s colleges offer high-quality programs that help people pursue rewarding careers,” said Ms. Bourgeois. “It’s time for government to elevate higher education in Ontario to international standards by introducing three-year degree programs in colleges.”
As the flagship institution of French-language college education in Ontario, La Cité puts the success of its students first and foremost, offering them facilities with leading-edge technology and a learning environment focused on practical, modern, forward-looking experiential learning practices. Graduates of the Collège are recognized as skilled, committed and creative professionals who can contribute to economic, social and cultural development in Ontario, Canada and elsewhere.
Mona Fortier, MBA
Chief Director, Communications and Market Development
La Cité, Le collège d’arts appliqués et de technologie
Telephone: 613 742-2483, extension 2381
Cell: 613 818-9899