An update on progress made on the NWT Post-Secondary Education Framework was given today by Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Caroline Cochrane. She stated that to create a framework and vision, information was needed as to what northerners want when it comes to post-secondary education.
“We asked the public, stakeholders and Indigenous governments to complete a survey, online or in hard copy, which was mailed out to all households and businesses in March and April. More than 700 residents took the time to complete the survey and provide more than 4,500 comments, ideas and suggestions to help us develop the vision and goals for post-secondary education.”
Cochrane added that while they continue to analyze the input, some key themes have been identified that will form the basis of the final framework and vision:
- Youth need to be inspired in order to increase the number of residents accessing post-secondary education opportunities;
- The transition to post-secondary education can be challenging for many students and greater support is needed;
- It is important to continue supporting access to a wide range of post-secondary education options in both the north and at institutions across the rest of Canada;
- Many residents see the benefits of having more post-secondary education options that are close to home so students can be closer to support from family and friends;
- There is interest in expanding access to programs that are relevant to the north and that increase opportunities for northern employment; and,
- For many, post-secondary education has been more than an opportunity to develop new skills, it has exposed them to new ideas and viewpoints that helped shape the rest of their lives.
She noted that the final framework and vision will be used as a guide in creating a polytechnic university for the NWT that builds capacity at the three existing campuses.
“The transformation process will take 5 to 6 years to complete, and we are already making progress and moving forward. We are focusing on meeting our milestones while keeping the public, our partners and our stakeholders informed as we meet our goals.”
The next steps that will be taken will be:
- To recruit highly qualified post-secondary education leaders to the Academic Advisory Council to provide guidance to the President throughout the transformation. (July/August 2019)
- The public release of the NWT Post-Secondary Education Framework. (August 2019)
- To begin strategic planning with Aurora College this fall, guided by the Framework. (September 2019 – March 2020)
- To design and carry out the transformation, based on the Strategic Plan and the Government Response to the Finding and Recommendations of the Aurora College Foundational Review. (March 2020 – September 2020)
“We have a great opportunity to transform Aurora College to ensure Northerners can get the skills and training they need to get the jobs NWT employers are hiring for today and into the future, and we are seizing that opportunity”, concluded Cochrane.