Volume 92, Issue 73

Friday, February 5, 1999


New ministry based on old idea

Zoo's future the focus of forum

Candidates given poor rating so far

Control will soon be in the box

Y2K test flies by successfully

Zolis looks beyond buzz words


Caught on campus

New ministry based on old idea

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

Issues concerning college and university students may soon be under the jurisdiction of a ministry of post secondary education if an announcement made by Minister of Education and Training Dave Johnson pans out.

According to Daniele Gauvin, a spokesperson for the Ministry, Johnson announced this week at Queen's Park that the Ontario government is studying plans to create the new ministry.

"The minister said it's something we're looking into. That is the extent of public information," Gauvin said.

While in the past university and college educations were separate entities, everything including elementary, secondary, post secondary education as well as training are combined to form the Ministry today, Gauvin said.

Gauvin said the minister has recognized the fact the Ministry of Education and Training is large and possibly needs to be redefined in order to better serve its students. "The bottom line is the best interest of the students."

Rob Savage, press secretary for the minister, said Johnson has indicated it would make sense to isolate post secondary education into a separate faction in order to benefit students.

"It's an idea that is kicking around," Savage said. "It's certainly not something that's imminent."

Western's VP-academic Greg Moran said he thought a ministry of post secondary education was a good idea, although he expressed concern it may focus too much on the training aspect of education.

"It concerns me that there would be far too narrow a focus on vocational training which is not comparable with what we do at university," Moran said.

Tailoring a ministry towards job training is fruitless, Moran said, because it is virtually impossible to predict what the needs of the job market may be in the future. "The workforce can't be determined. [Western] is preparing students for jobs now and for jobs 10 or 15 years down the road."

"I think it's an excellent opportunity," said Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the University Students' Council.

Iozzo said a ministry for colleges and universities used to exist in the late 1980s and early 1990s and students were getting considerably more funding than they are now.

"Sometimes high school, elementary school and kindergarten issues steal the limelight and attention of the minister, staff and the politicians," Iozzo said.

Assuming there is adequate funding and a backbone to support a new ministry, having someone at the cabinet table specifically representing post secondary education gives students a greater voice, Iozzo said.

"For spreading the responsibility around, I think it's a good thing," he added.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999