November 27, 2020
OUSA releases policy paper titled “A Comprehensive Access Strategy”
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release A Comprehensive Access Strategy, the second of four policy papers approved at our virtual Fall General Assembly earlier this month. Written and ratified by students, this paper provides recommendations aimed at promoting equitable access to post-secondary education in Ontario.
"Many students continue to face systemic barriers to accessing university, despite overall enrolment going up in recent years,” said Nathan Barnett, Vice President University Affairs at the Trent Durham Student Association and OUSA Steering Committee member. “This policy offers concrete steps the province can take to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, are able to pursue whichever post-secondary pathway they choose.”
Students are also concerned about inflexible pathways to university for mature and transfer students, as well as insufficient data collection on post-secondary attainment and the effectiveness of existing outreach programs. Further, students remain concerned about the negative effects of secondary school streaming on marginalized groups, as well as the requirement to choose between academic and applied streams in grade ten and the difficulty of switching between streams.
Recommendations for addressing these issues include providing targeted programming that encourages students from underrepresented groups to pursue post-secondary; increasing financial support for mature and transfer students; increasing data collection and reporting requirements; and delaying secondary school streaming until grades eleven and twelve.
"High school students often don’t understand how the choice between academic and applied courses can affect their academic and career goals,” said Matthew Mellon, Commissioner of External Affairs for the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University and OUSA Steering Committee member. "Delaying streaming until grade eleven, raising awareness of the post-secondary pathways linked to each stream, and making it easier to switch between streams would give students the tools they need to make informed decisions about their future."
OUSA looks forward to working with the provincial government and sector stakeholders to implement the recommendations in this policy, which was written and approved by post-secondary student leaders and delegates after consultations with students across Ontario. Visit ousa.ca to read the full policy paper and its corresponding policy brief.
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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.
Communications & Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance