The Alberta government’s Bill 74, the Advanced Education Statutes Amendment Act which got its first reading on October 26th is getting support from the head of Lakeland College.
President and CEO Dr. Alice Wainwright-Stewart says over some five years, the government has been getting feedback from stakeholders about making improvements to the post secondary system.
Wainwright-Stewart is pleased that the government has taken this feedback as they look to set up an advisory council through Bill 74.
“They are going to provide a minister’s advisory council for strategic goals and directions. They will have people from different areas and we will look at strategic directions for the post secondary institutions. Like what are some of the strategic goals that Alberta is looking for in the post secondary institutions.”
Wainwright-Stewart says that some of the background to this is development plans that are in discussion as part of Alberta 2030 and the role of post secondary education.
“There seems to be a public misunderstanding or not understanding what’s the direction of post secondary education. Why are they going this way? I think that this advisory council to the minister will probably provide some of that high level. And then we as institutions can identify how we are moving forward.”
Wainwright-Stewart links her comments to the Modernization of Apprenticeship Education & Skills Trade which got Royal Assent on June 17th. This legislation gives autonomy for post secondary institutions to set tuition as well as standards and their curriculum.
“Each skill trade, they will have an opportunity to set some of the standards that they believe rather than may be a more centralized government approach. And it will also help us in post secondary institutions, that we can set our own curriculum. Again there will be standards, but that we will have more autonomy over our curriculum.”
Wainwright-Stewart says they will be able to assess the learning outcomes and determine how the curriculum is delivered in the classroom. Previously this was set across the province, but she says this was something that the came out of the feedback from stakeholders.
The government says, if passed, Bill 74 will amend the Post-secondary Learning Act and the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act to fit in with the Alberta 2030 strategy, address feedback from stakeholders, provide direction to the post-secondary system and remove red tape.
Wainwright-Stewart sees the new measures as positive for post secondary institutions.
“I would say that its positive in terms of the bigger picture. If you think of where they started and where they finished, I think that they listened to the stakeholders and have made changes to reflect stakeholder needs.”