Canada leads the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in educational attainment. It also performs remarkably well in reading and math tests in the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) administered by the OECD, ranking as a top-five country. What can we do to build on these successes to keep developing one of the best public education systems in the world?
Here are five bold actions suggested by Contact North | Contact Nord:
- CREATE OPEN LEARNING CANADA
Provide quality courses on demand by making all Canadian online learning resources easily accessible to all in a single CanadaLearn portal available worldwide. Online registration, admission and study lead to the award of credentials captured in MyCred™, an official credential wallet for post-secondary learners and graduates.
- FUND A NATIONAL CENTRE FOR COMPETENCY AND KNOWLEDGE ASSESSMENT: ASSESSMENT-ONLY CREDENTIALS ON DEMAND
If you already have knowledge, skills and capabilities, you do not need a course or a program of studies. You need to have your knowledge and skills assessed and recognized, on demand. As more competency-based assessment systems emerge, this becomes easier, faster and smarter. As universities and colleges begin to realize this, more people can have their prior learning or current capabilities recognized for credit and credentials.
- DEVELOP A NEW SKILLS AGENDA FOR CANADA
Canada has had a skills crisis for some time. It’s time to fix it. We need to reimagine apprenticeship, focus on competencies rather than courses or time-based certification, refocus work-based learning on skills and capabilities, and think national and international qualifications offered locally. It’s time to stop exploring and start acting boldly.
- INITIATE A NEW APPROACH TO CREDENTIALS
The youngest person to be certified as a Microsoft Professional was just four years old. Time is not as important as knowledge acquisition, capability development and skills, and these things can be done faster and better with on-demand access to learning, supports and teaching. It’s time to end our semester-based systems and time-based learning and shift to a focus on demonstrable skills and capabilities and knowledge sharing. Fund outcomes, not time.
- STRENGTHEN COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY INSTRUCTION: CERTIFY TEACHING
Not all college and university teachers need to demonstrate knowledge, capability and competence in teaching through professional certification. It’s time to require them to do so.