Ontario may limit growth of some graduate programmes

Universities in the Canadian province are under pressure to show the value of, and demand for, their master’s and PhD programmes

January 17, 2017
University of Guelph
Source: iStock

Universities in Ontario may face limits on the growth of their graduate degree programmes if they fail to train students with skills demanded by employers.

The expansion plans of institutions in the Canadian province may also be stunted if they cannot demonstrate enough immediate student demand for graduate courses, according to The Globe and Mail.

The newspaper said that over the next few months the Ontario government will hold discussions with the province’s universities about how and where it provides grants for graduate-level programmes, as part of talks that will lead to a higher portion of funds being linked to each institution’s outcomes (such as graduation or employment rates).

In an earlier round of agreements the province had agreed to support a certain number of graduate places at each university, but institutions that have not yet met these targets will have to explain how they plan to fill the places or face losing them to programmes that are running at capacity, it added.

In addition, last month, Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development announced that it will fund increases in undergraduate and graduate enrolment only within tightly defined boundaries, according to the newspaper.

The provincial government indicated that it wants universities to train students to have skills and competencies rather than focusing on credentials.

Charlotte Yates, provost and vice-president of the University of Guelph, which is running about 10 per cent short of its enrolment targets for graduate students, suggested to The Globe and Mail that reallocating money to universities that are offering more popular degrees could limit other institutions’ more gradual growth.

“The last thing I want to do is stop us in our tracks,” she said.

Since 2004, Ontario has invested more than C$500 million (£309 million) in graduate education and almost 20,000 more people have enrolled in master’s or PhD programmes as a result, according to the newspaper.

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

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