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Artemy Biryukov
Artemy Biryukov

Higher Education In Canada

In Canada, the constitutional responsibility for higher education primarily rests with the provinces of Canada per the Constitution Act, 1867.[1] The decision was contentious from its inception.[2] As a result of this constitutional arrangement, a distinctive system of education, including higher education, has evolved in each province and territory. The federal government's direct involvement in higher education is currently limited to the Canadian Military Colleges and funding the education of aboriginal peoples.

higher education in canada

The higher education systems in Canada's ten provinces include their historical development, organization (e.g., structure, governance, and funding), and goals (e.g., participation, access, and mobility). Each of the three territories in Canada (i.e., Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon) have separate higher education systems that reflect territorial history, organization, and goals in the context of geographical challenges.

Higher education for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada can be considered on a spectrum ranging from Aboriginal to general programs and institutions. At one end, some institutions are specifically intended for Aboriginal people, located in predominantly Aboriginal communities, controlled by First Nations band governments or dedicated non-profit boards, and/or accredited by indigenous bodies (often international in scope). At the other end are the mainstream provincial or territorial systems with general intake. In the middle could be considered focussed programs chartered by provincial or territorial governments or affiliated to their mainstream institutions. (The spectrum does not consider programs outside Canada, whether indigenous-focussed or not.) The peculiar institutional situation of Aboriginal education is the result of a quirk in jurisdictional division between the provinces and federal government as well as a negative relationship between Aboriginals and mainstream education due to the historical legacy of assimilationist policies pursued by Canadian authorities. Many Aboriginal programs and institutions are growing much more rapidly than mainstream ones; nonetheless, most have lengthy institutional histories.

Higher education in Alberta trains students in various academic and vocational specializations. Generally, youth attend school from kindergarten until grade twelve, at which time they have the option to continue into post secondary study. Students are required to meet the individual entrance requirements for programs offered at the institution of their choice.[6] Once accepted, students are allowed greater educational opportunities through the province extensively developed articulation system. The Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT) enables students transfer between programs at any of the twenty public post secondary institutions, eight private colleges, and other Alberta-based not for profit institutions.[7][8] To ensure a continued high standard for credentials awarded by post secondary facilities, the Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education established the Campus Alberta Quality Council with membership in the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education.[9]

The provincial government administers a higher education system that includes twenty-five publicly funded institutions, fourteen private institutions, and numerous private career training institutions or career colleges. Public institutions include eleven universities, eleven colleges, and three institutes.

Much like the other regions in Canada, the educational system in British Columbia remained, for the most part, stagnant from the 1960s through the 1990s.[10] During this period, education was divided into two main groups, the college and institution sector and the university sector.[10] However, only the college and institution sector was able to issue a formal degree.[10] In an effort to match the growth of technology, to expand the economy, and to raise attendance rates, this system was revised in 1991 when the New Democratic Party took over control of the central government.[10] One main revision to the education system was a focus on vocationalism, which allowed education to be centred around industry specific skills rather than a generic curriculum.[10] Since some vocational schools already existed, the New Democratic Party found it most logical to join the existing vocational schools and colleges into singular institutions along with enacting new programs.[11] By 1995 five new universities were created offering a mix of vocational programs and generic degree programs.[11] This not only increased the number of attendance spots therefore making a higher education more accessible, but it also made education more practical and applicable to careers after university.[11] In addition, Vocational schools were also used to retrain current members of the workforce so they could adapt with technological changes and advancements.[12] Now that more students had access to specialized vocational programs they were more adept to enter specific industries and could therefore enlarge economic growth and technological innovation.[12]

A major public review of higher education in Manitoba, submitted in 1973 under the title of the Task Force on Postsecondary Education, more commonly known as the Oliver Commission, recommended closer articulation between Manitoba's universities and community colleges. The system remains a binary one, however, with few university transfer programs or college courses which can be applied towards a university degree.[13] The Roblin Commission of 1993 and subsequent declining allocations of the public purse have made it clear that post-secondary institutions will have to find their own private sources of funding to make up shortfalls in general operating budgets.[13]

The higher education system in New Brunswick includes the governing Ministry of Postsecondary Education Training and Labour, related agencies, boards, or commissions, public or private chartered universities, universities recognized under the degree granting act, public colleges, and other institutions such as private career colleges. Higher education has a rich history in New Brunswick, including the first English-speaking University in Canada, University of New Brunswick, and the first university in the British Empire to have awarded a baccalaureate to a woman (Grace Annie Lockhart, B.Sc., 1875), Mount Allison University. English speaking New Brunswickers in Canada's only bilingual province are falling behind according to Statistics Canada.[14]

Newfoundland and Labrador has had the same growing pains as other provinces in developing its own form of education and now boasts a very strong, although relatively small, system. The direction of Newfoundland and Labrador's policy has evolved rapidly since the late 1990s, with increased funding, participation rates, accessibility and transferability. Many of the directives the government has been acting upon in the past 3 years have been a result of recommendations that stemmed from a 2005 white paper: Foundation for Success: White Paper on Public Post-Secondary Education[15]

The only post-secondary institution in the NWT is Aurora College. The former Arctic College was split into Aurora College and Nunavut Arctic College when Nunavut Territory was created in 1999. Aurora College has campuses in Inuvik, Fort Smith and Yellowknife. It has learning centres in many other communities in the NWT. The territorial Department of Education, Culture and Employment is the government agency responsible for post-secondary education in the Northwest Territories. There are two career colleges located in the NWT: the Academy of Learning in Yellowknife, which provides business information technology courses,[16] and Great Slave Helicopters Flight Training Centre, which supplies Global Positioning System training for helicopter pilot education.[17]

The governing body for higher education in Nova Scotia is the Department of Education with Karen Casey as Minister of Education.[18] Nova Scotia has a population of less than 1 million people[19] who are served by 11 public universities and one private chartered university authorized to grant degrees,[20] the Nova Scotia Community College that offers programs at 13 campuses,[21] and 6 Community Learning Centres.[22]

Created in 1999, the Territory of Nunavut is located in the Canadian Arctic. Nunavut has developed some creative solutions to the delivery of post-secondary education considering challenges that include a huge geographic region, a sparse and isolated populace, and four official languages.[23][24] To address these challenges, Nunavut Arctic College delivers customized learning programs via Community Learning Centres in twenty-four of the twenty-six communities in Nunavut.[25] Programs are developed to address the needs of individual communities, with respect to literacy, adult education, certificates, and professional development for major regional community stakeholders, such as government, employers and non-profit organizations.[26] To assist Northern residents in accessing highly skilled training, Nunavut Arctic College has partnered with McGill University, the University of Victoria and Dalhousie University to offer bachelor's degrees in Education, Nursing and Law, respectively.[27] Nunavut Arctic College is an active member of the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer, and has developed formal transfer arrangements with many institutions in the Province of Alberta and Aurora College in the Northwest Territories.[28]

The higher education system in Ontario includes the governing Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, advisory bodies, public universities, private degree-granting institutions, public colleges, private career colleges, and associations.[29][30] In Ontario there are twenty-two public universities, twenty-four public colleges, and seventeen privately funded institutions with degree granting authority. Governance within Ontario universities generally follows a bicameral approach with separation of authority between a board and a senate.[31] There are eight associations that provide representation for faculty, staff, institutions, and students within the Ontario higher education system. The public funding of higher education in Ontario primarily relies on cooperation between the government of Canada and the government of Ontario. Public funding of higher education involves direct public funding of institutions for instruction, investment, and research combined with funding of students.[32] 041b061a72


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