January 17, 2022
OUSA releases policy paper titled “Accountability and System Vision”
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the third policy paper approved by OUSA’s Fall 2021 General Assembly, Accountability and System Vision. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of bringing attention to student concerns and recommendations that address accountability mechanisms and tools for systemic direction within the post-secondary sector.
“Students across Ontario deserve accountability and insight into the future of their post-secondary education," said Jacob Marinelli, Commissioner of External Affairs for the Alma Mater Society at Queen’s University and author. "In times of uncertainty, it is extremely important that ample investments are reflected to ensure the quality of education remains at the forefront for Ontario's universities. Through addressing many student concerns across the province, it is imperative that their voices are heard, and that no student has any barriers to access their education.”
A combination of two previous OUSA policy papers, this paper highlights numerous student concerns regarding the macro-level processes that shape and define the post-secondary system. In particular, students are worried about limited representation on governing bodies, gaps in quality assurance, inequities in capacity expansion projects, and fragmented ministerial frameworks. They have also cited concerns about unbalanced funding models, Strategic Mandate Agreement 3 outcomes, insufficient application of differentiation in work-integrated learning, and inadequate student mediation operations.
To address these concerns, students offer various evidence-based recommendations that increase student representation in institutional governance, strengthen quality assurance processes, provide more supportive capacity expansion initiatives, and integrate Ministry frameworks. Additionally, they provide recommendations that balance financial contributions to university operations, include students in the development of Strategic Mandate Agreements, promote differentiation in work-integrated learning, and improve mediation office structures.
“We recognize the importance of agency for colleges and universities but as enrolment numbers, tuition, and operating costs continue to rise, the province of Ontario needs to improve accountability and guarantee students are heard in all areas of post-secondary education,” said Siobhan Teel, OUSA’s VP for Administration and Human Resources, and VP Education at the McMaster Students Union. “There are numerous ways to make education more accessible, equitable, and sustainable for everyone and we hope these recommendations help to provide a foundation for our shared values.”
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on October 31, 2021 at OUSA’s Fall General Assembly, held virtually.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance