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Premier's Council calls for education, training reforms.

Premier's Council calls for education, training reforms

The Premier's Council is recommending a number of major reforms for Ontario's education, training and labor adjustment systems.

The report, entitled People and Skills in the New Global Economy, says the skills and adaptability of the province's workforce will be critical to maintaining ontario's economic strenth in the global economy. The council's study contains 32 recommendations, ranging from making technical and skilled trades more attractive career options for students to improving income support and training for workers facing layoff.

One key recommendation is the proposal to establish a joint labor-management board to oversee training and adjustment policies. The Ontario Training and Adjustment Board (OTAB) would be an independent institution with authority to make major program and funding dicisions on workplace traning, for guiding labor market research and for revamping the province's apprenticeship system.

The report also examines ways to enhance existing support and retraining programs which help workers adjust to being laid off.

"This report recognizes that successful adjustment does not mean merely finding another job. A laid-off worker is not successfully adjusted unless his social, emotional and economic well-being have been restored," said Leo Gerard, Ontario director for the United Steelworkers of America and a member of the council.


Other measures proposed by the council are:

- more effective career education to promote technical and manufacturing jobs

- a common school curriculum up to grade 10 by the year 2000

- an evaluation system to monitor performance across the education system, within each school

- better links between schools, communities and the private sector

- increased funding and incentives for post-graduate studies in science and engineering

- a thorough revitalization of the province's apprenticeship system

- improved provisions for advanced notice of layoffs

- diversification assistance for single-industry communities facing restructuring of their economic base


The report recommends math and science should become a mandatory component of the core curriculum until at least the end of grade 10, and ideally grade 12.

A key recommendation is to promote the importance, excitement and financial rewards of tecnical, trades and scientific occupations both within and outside the school system.

In order to help students determine which career to choose, the report stresses career education should be assigned more importance within the school system and should also enlist the efforts of business, labor and communities to ensure that advice on employment opportunities is both accurate and current.

Another recommendation is to provide students with a range of choices upon reaching the legal age at which they can leave school (16 years). These include leaving school to enter the paid workforce or a training program, continuing in a workplace training program, or continuing in school in order to complete a diploma.

The report says a system-wide program for evaluating students' performance should be introduced. Such a program would contain a comprehensive profile assessment for students in order to help them determine which career path to follow. The evaluation would also monitor and measure how effectively Ontario schools are performing their mission.


In order to combat the high dropout rates found early in college programs, the report says colleges should allow students to explore college courses before fully enroling in them.

The report further recommends universities pursue funding from the private sector and look beyond pure financial support to new modes of co-operation, including the exchange of personnel.

The council also recommended post-secondary institutions standardize programs to allow for the transfer of credits between schools and to facilitate the transfer of students between programs.

In order to give workers an increased opportunity to take advantage of retraining programs, the report calls for the advance notice thresholds to be reduced to include permanent layoffs of 10 to 49 workers. It says consideration should also be given to increasing notice periods for all mass layoffs. The council believes it is important that large firms give notice beyond the current 16-week minimum.
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Title Annotation:Education Report
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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