OACC’s Program Standards Committee met with Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities officials on November 30 in Toronto to discuss the framework.
What is the Ontario Qualifications Framework?
The Ontario Qualifications Framework organizes the Ontario postsecondary credentials that students can be awarded along a continuum, covering everything from certificates to diplomas to degrees to PhDs.
Highlights from OACC's discussion with the Ministry include:
•Programs of study are to be evaluated to determine if they meet the framework’s requirements for a particular credential and meet the subject specific standards for that program of study, when those standards exist
•The OQF has already been implemented for the community college and university sectors, and still needs to be implemented in the private career college sector.
•The OQF will help students and employers better understand the learning outcomes associated with particular programs and will help to allow for better mobility for graduates across and between programs offered at different public and private institutions.
•The OQF is not a static document, and gaps that both OACC and the Ministry have identified in the framework, may result in modifications being made in OQF in the future, where warranted.
•The “typical duration” hours included in the framework are a guide only. The focus for determining the appropriate credential level will be the learning outcomes, depth and breadth of the program.
•There will be a transition period for phasing career college programs into the OQF, but the timelines have yet to be finalized
•The purpose of the framework is not to specify what type of institution can confer which credentials. Rather, the purpose is to determine the criteria that any institution, public or private, must meet for any program of study in order to be able to issue a particular credential.
•Under the OQF, career college programs would typically need to include the standard vocational learning outcomes and the essential employability skills, and would not necessarily include the general education components. This is true for all credentials except the Advanced Diploma.
•Full implementation of OQF could lead to increased credit recognition between postsecondary institutions in all sectors, to the ultimate benefit of the students.
•There was an agreement reached between OACC and the Ministry to form a small working group in early 2010 that would meet to drill down on specific implementation issues. The group would recommend changes to OQF, develop a plan that would ensure a successful roll out in the PCC sector, and report back to the OACC Program Standards committee.
•Efforts will be made in the future to include career college representatives and apprenticeship program deliverers, where appropriate, when working on new program standards for community colleges.