June 26, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A transformation of community colleges and apprenticeship, the establishment of graduate schools, and student financing strategies were some of the highlights as the government released Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. The Action Plan to Transform Post-Secondary Education in New Brunswick.
Starting in 2008-09, there will be projected new financial investments of a minimum of $90 million over five years to support transformation of the post-secondary education system. A plan outlining necessary capital investments will be developed by the Presidents' Council in 2008-09.
The announcement was made today by Premier Shawn Graham; Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Ed Doherty; and Finance Minister Victor Boudreau.
"This is a comprehensive, multi-year roadmap that we want all New Brunswickers to own," Graham said. "We feel these bold initiatives will position us as a leader in post-secondary education and training. Students receive a high-quality academic experience in New Brunswick, but we want to raise the bar in helping our people be better and be part of the best education system in Canada."
"Our 33-point action plan is about more than dollars and cents," said Doherty. "Students are the heart and soul of our post-secondary education system, and they want the overall structure of our system to be more responsive and take into consideration their ever-changing needs."
A student-focused system
The government will implement the following strategies directed at student financing measures for the 2008-09 academic year:
The Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation Millennium Bursary program will continue for 2008-09, but will be phased out by the federal government by the fall of 2009.
"This federal program, used by 2,600 high-need New Brunswick students, is being phased out in 2009-10, and will result in a loss of up to $7 million in funding for New Brunswick students," Boudreau said.
Boudreau said that he will immediately begin discussions with his federal counterparts to restore this vital source of funding.
Subject to these discussions, further measures to enhance student financing outlined in the plan will be announced for the 2009-10 academic year and beyond.
Other student-focused initiatives include:
A modern community college system and enhanced apprenticeship training
Graham also announced today that beginning this fall the community college system will transform into a modern, autonomous system with a regional structure. The new system will be comprised of an anglophone and a francophone community college with separate governance. The current NBCC-CCNB campuses will be integrated into this system along with a new campus for Fredericton, while the College of Craft and Design will be enhanced and transformed into a centre for artistic and creative excellence.
"This new structure will allow the college system an increase in capacity of 12,000 spaces," Doherty said. "It will also allow for a more seamless relationship with a newly revitalized apprenticeship program."
Doherty said that under the action plan, the apprenticeship program will increase the number of apprentices from 3,630 to 6,200 by 2012-13, putting 2,570 more skilled workers into the New Brunswick workforce.
Collaboration, efficiency, accountability
The plan also details a number of initiatives focused on creating a more efficient, responsive, accountable, and collaborative post-secondary system, including:
The government's plan to transform post-secondary education is available online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elaine Bell, communications, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-453-2568.