The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released two new studies examining the international student population in Canada, with a particular focus on Ontario. In the report titled “International Students in Ontario’s Postsecondary Education System, 2000-2012,” researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University found that the average international student in Canada is male and attends college in the GTA. While the total number of international students in the country has grown, the number attending college has risen more quickly. In “The Global Competition for International Students as Future Immigrants,” researchers from York University and the University of Guelph explored ways to improve the experience for international students. They found that many ON universities have programs that target first-year students but lack supports for upper-year students. They also documented a need to “enhance interactions between international and domestic students.”
Three University of Windsor researchers, with funding from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), have completed a survey finding that Ontario colleges need to improve their methods for recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented groups. The final report, titled The Recruitment of Underrepresented Groups at Ontario Colleges: A Survey of Current Practices, recommends that colleges address this need by implementing a collaborative provincial model, improving tracking systems, developing universal definitions, and expanding successful programs.
A new report published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has found that the amount of money postsecondary systems have matters less than how they spend it. HEQCO’s Canadian Postsecondary Performance: Impact 2015 report used 34 indicators to measure provincial postsecondary system outcomes across 3 dimensions: access, value to students, and value to society. Outcomes were then considered in relation to operating cost-per-student to produce an overall performance score. The report found that provinces vary in their strengths, but that in every province there is a positive link between PSE and labour market success, individual earnings, citizen engagement, and economic contributions. “Some things are more important to some provinces than to others. We want [the report] to be used as a tool for the development of effective policies that are tailored to a jurisdiction and that are focused on achievement and outcomes,” said HEQCO President Harvey Weingarten. Bonnie M Patterson, President of the Council of Ontario Universities, commented that “it’s a positive report about our performance as a university sector. But if [the government] wants us to improve, there is a point where elasticity runs out, you gain your efficiencies, and you make your trade-offs … At some point you can’t get a change in indicators unless you are making some investments.”
The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has published a new evaluation of post-secondary bridging programs for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs). The research was conducted by Academica Group in collaboration with researchers from Western University, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. It examined 7 bridging programs, finding that in spite of differences between programs, each faced similar challenges around finding clinical placements for students. Funding was another common challenge; many programs received pilot funding, but were then expected to rely on tuition fees. However, variable labour market demand and immigration policies have led to fluctuating enrolment numbers, hampering long-term planning. The report recommends designing programs that offer theoretical learning alongside a practical component that should include the opportunity to learn about the Canadian workplace and the Canadian healthcare system. The report also recommends offering flexible, modular program delivery; hiring faculty who are particularly sensitive to the needs of IEHPs; better inclusion and coordination of stakeholders; sustainable and coordinated funding; and a centralized registry of bridging programs.