US embassy cable - 05TORONTO2770

Ontario's Minister of Colleges and Universities Describes Education Priorities to CG

Identifier: 05TORONTO2770
Wikileaks: View 05TORONTO2770 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2005-10-20 12:01:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: SCUL PGOV KPAO PHUM SOCI CA Education
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS TORONTO 002770 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SCUL, PGOV, KPAO, PHUM, SOCI, CA, Education 
SUBJECT: Ontario's Minister of Colleges and 
Universities Describes Education Priorities to CG 
 
REF:  Toronto 2680 
 
1.  Summary: Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and 
Universities, Christopher Bentley, discussed the province's 
headline- grabbing high school drop out rate following 
recent curriculum reform, education funding, and tighter 
regulations for private colleges during a meeting October 17 
with ConGen Toronto CG.  The CG thanked Minister Bentley for 
helping U.S. students displaced by Hurricane Katrina and 
gave an overview of ConGen Toronto's student intern program. 
End Summary. 
 
One Third of Ontario's Students Drop Out of High School 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
2.  Minister Bentley reiterated government of Ontario 
statements that one-third of students leave high school 
early.  Curriculum changes in 1999 which eliminated "grade 
13" have augmented the drop out rate.  He commented on plans 
to create an alternative, trades-focused high school diploma 
to reduce the drop out rate.  The alternative diploma will 
be introduced with legislation requiring students to stay in 
school until age 18, rather than the current age of 16. 
Minister Bentley said that the alternative high school 
diploma, along with expanded cooperative learning and 
apprenticeship programs, will give students better 
opportunities for achievement. 
 
Ontario Invests in Education 
---------------------------- 
 
3.  Minister Bentley explained that the government is 
investing heavily in all levels of education.  He referred 
to the October 12 Throne Speech (reftel) in which the 
government outlined its commitment to invest C$6.2 billion 
more in universities, colleges, apprenticeships, and skills 
programs.  Minister Bentley stated that his government 
considers investments in education essential to give 
Ontario's workforce the skills it needs in the rapidly 
changing global competition for investment and jobs. 
 
Tighter Regulations for Private Career Colleges in Ontario 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
4.  Minister Bentley said that private career colleges 
operate under weak guidelines.  Investigations of financial 
scandal involving a private career college in Toronto have 
recently gained media attention.  He anticipates changes to 
the Private Career Colleges Act will tighten requirements 
for operation and give students financial insurance.  He 
does not support Charter schools or high schools. Charter 
High Schools, which are both privately and publicly funded, 
do not operate in the province.  However, he commented that 
single-race high schools might exist due to demographics. 
 
Bilateral Academic Exchanges Get an `A' 
--------------------------------------- 
 
5.  Both the CG and Minister Bentley expressed their support 
for bilateral academic exchange programs.  Minister Bentley 
commented that the government is eager to help American 
institutions build relationships with colleges and 
universities in Ontario.  The CG gave the Minister a brief 
overview of ConGen Toronto's foreign national student 
internship program. 
 
SCHIMMEL 

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