Ontario supports lifelong learning through new centre for excellence

Archived Release

Ontario supports lifelong learning through new centre for excellence

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

TORONTO, Jan. 9 /CNW/ - The Ontario Government will establish a centre for excellence in lifelong learning to expand the range of flexible, high- quality learning programs available to students of all ages, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Dianne Cunningham and Janet Ecker, Minister of Education, announced today.
The centre will align the content expertise in elementary and secondary distance education programs provided by the Independent Learning Centre and the "new media" expertise available at the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario).
"Our goal is to ensure that Ontarians, no matter where they live, have opportunities throughout their lives to gain access to high-quality, relevant learning programs where and when they are needed," said Cunningham. "Through the use of new technologies, this new centre will open up a whole new range of flexible choices for Ontario's learners."
The centre is a first step in responding to a key recommendation outlined in the Ontario Jobs and Investment Board report, A Road Map to Prosperity, which called for a commitment to lifelong learning through the creation of a distance education network in Ontario.
"Staff at the Independent Learning Centre have a strong tradition of providing elementary and secondary distance education courses," said Ecker. "Today's announcement will build on the success of the Independent Learning Centre, and ensure our students continue to receive the high-quality education they will need throughout their lives to upgrade and expand their skills."
Today's announcement sets the stage for the transfer of the Ministry of Education's Independent Learning Centre to TVOntario's New Media Division, established in April 2000 to focus on interactive programs for children, parents and the workplace through the use of sophisticated, interactive media. Through the transfer, the centre will develop and deliver technology-based programs that provide a level of interactivity currently only available in a classroom or workplace setting.
"This is a tremendously exciting time for TVOntario, and today's announcement will help us strengthen our commitment to providing education and training programs, in English and French, to Ontarians," said Isabel Bassett, Chair and CEO of TVOntario. "We now have the combination of content and new technology needed to launch Ontario's first comprehensive strategy for lifelong learning."
As a first step in refocusing TVOntario on education and training, the Ontario Government in its 2000 Budget established a $5- million Lifelong Learning Challenge Fund to develop workplace training delivery in partnership with the private sector.
Staff from the ministries will now begin work on the details of the transfer of resources and staff positions of the Independent Learning Centre to TVOntario's New Media Division.

Backgrounder
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CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN LIFELONG LEARNING:
BACKGROUND CHRONOLOGY

1997 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario)
is referred to the Office for Privatization for a review of
options regarding the role of the provincial government in
educational broadcasting.

The Ministry of Education and Training carried out a
comprehensive review of the Independent Learning Centre's
(ILC) governance and funding in 1997.

June 1998 Minister Responsible for Privatization announces TVOntario
will be retained and its responsibility will be transferred to
the then Ministry of Education and Training. Its mandate will
be refocused on lifelong learning.

Mar. 1999 The Ontario Jobs and Investment Board (OJIB), in the Road Map
to Prosperity, recommends Ontario commit to lifelong learning
and proposes an Ontario distance education network, partially
building on a refocused mandate of TVOntario.

Oct. 1999 The Speech from the Throne responds to the OJIB
recommendation, stating "Your Government will return TVOntario
to its educational roots and expand its mandate to facilitate
training, retraining and lifelong learning". Responsibility
for TVOntario is assigned to the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities (one of two ministries formed from
the previous Ministry of Education and Training).

Apr. 2000 TVOntario announces creation of its New Media Division to
focus on non-broadcast, interactive programs for children,
parents and the workplace through the use of sophisticated,
interactive media.

May 2000 Ontario Budget announces $5-million TVOntario's Lifelong
Learning Challenge Fund to develop workplace training programs
in partnership with the private sector.

Jan. 2001 Ontario Government announces creation of new centre for
excellence in lifelong learning building on expertise of
TVOntario and ILC.

Contact: Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709

Fact sheet
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NEW CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE BUILDS ON EXPERTISE OF TVONTARIO AND ILC

The Ontario Government will establish a centre for excellence in lifelong learning to expand the range of flexible, high-quality learning programs available to students of all ages. The centre will be created through the transfer of the staff and resources of the Ministry of Education's Independent Learning Centre (ILC) to the New Media Division of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TVOntario). Government staff will now enter into discussions with TVOntario to work out details of the transfer.

TVOntario

TVOntario was established as a provincial agency in 1970 to provide educational programming to Ontarians. In 1999, the Ontario Government transferred responsibility of TVOntario to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
TVOntario's English broadcasting activities through TVO reach an average of 3 million viewers per week. It is available to 98.5 per cent of Ontario's English-speaking households; tfo, the French-language broadcast arm, is available to between 75-80 per cent of Ontario's French-speaking households.
In April 2000, TVOntario established its New Media Division to focus on non-broadcast, interactive programs for children, parents and the workplace through the use of sophisticated, interactive media.

Independent Learning Centre

ILC is a Branch of the Ministry of Education that develops and delivers distance education courses leading to an Ontario high school diploma. In 1999- 2000, the ILC served 24,000 students in English and French. Available ILC courses include approximately 120 secondary school credit courses in English and French, and non-credit courses in adult basic education (literacy, numeracy and English as a Second Language).
ILC also delivers the General Educational Development (GED) Testing to adults, which allows them to obtain an Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate.

TVOntario's Lifelong Learning Challenge Fund

In its 2000 Budget, the Ontario Government established the $5-million Lifelong Learning Challenge Fund to create new, innovative opportunities for Ontarians to learn critical job skills through the Internet.
The Fund will provide a total of $5 million, which will be used to match private sector resources. The Fund helped launch TVOntaro's new media strategy, which is part of its mandate to support lifelong learning.

Contact:

Dave Ross
Communications Branch
(416) 325-2709

Disponible en fran├žais

For more information visit www.edu.gov.on.ca
For further information: Kerry Kincaid Delaney, Minister's Office, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, (416) 326-1625; Rebecca Low, Minister's Office, Ministry of Education, (416) 325-2599; Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709