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February 9, 2006
For immediate release
Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training Reaffirmed their Commitment to Working with the Federal Government on Post-Secondary Education and Skills Development Priorities
The ministers consider the election of the new government a great opportunity to increase awareness of Atlantic post-secondary education and skills development priorities. The ministers also reviewed the Conservative party election platform on education and training and believe that it represents a good starting point for federal-provincial discussions. Ministers look forward to working with the federal government in areas they consider as vital public policy issues for the coming years.
In preparation for Competing for Tomorrow: a Post-secondary Education and Skills Summit, to be held on February 23 and 24, the ministers met with representatives of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and the Atlantic Provinces Community College Consortium (APCCC) to discuss post-secondary education and training issues, more specifically priorities within the context of a renewed federal-provincial partnership in post-secondary education. During the meeting, the Atlantic ministers presented a number of priority areas to support students and institutions and emphasized the unique needs of this region, including:
1. Post-secondary infrastructure and renewal — an urgent need for renewal of facilities and an upgrade of technology to increase the ability of the region’s institutions to provide adequate access and relevant training.
2. Adult literacy programs — with an emphasis on broadening the delivery of services and raising adult literacy levels in a meaningful and measurable way.
3. Skills development — by investing in resources to improve assessment and recognition of prior learning, to increase learning in essential workplace skills, and to improve current methods and practices in apprenticeship training.
4. Research & Development capacity — to support Atlantic R&D activity and increase economic development in the area of advanced manufacturing, enhancing the level of knowledge industries, life sciences and value-added natural resources.
The Atlantic ministers also emphasized that Atlantic Canada has unique challenges that need to be recognized in any debate on federal funding transfers.
The meeting provided an opportunity for these organizations and ministers of education and training to arrive at a common understanding of issues and priorities prior to the national post-secondary education and skills summit to be held in Ottawa later this month. Ministers believe that these partners are key in any future debates on post-secondary education and training with the federal government and agreed that it is very important to put forward common priorities.
Ministers of education and training reiterated that access to post-secondary education, affordability and student debt remain concerns and they believe that a renewed federal-provincial partnership should address these crucial issues.