Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BC News

Regulating Private Education

Ministry looking at new governance model

Released by Alexis Lunn, BC Ombudsperson

 

C Ombudsperson Kim Carter announced today that she has launched a systemic investigation into the regulation and oversight of private career training institutions in British Columbia.

 

Last month, the Ministry of Advanced Education appointed a public administrator to discharge the powers, duties and functions of the PCTIA Board and it is now exploring a new model for the regulation of private career training institutions.

 

"Even though the PCTIA Board has been dissolved, this investigation will result in recommendations that will be important to a new model that oversees private career training institutions", says Carter. The investigation will consider a number of issues including governance, quality assurance, student protection and complaint processes.

"Private career training institutions are a well-established part of post-secondary education in B.C.", says Carter. "These schools provide education and training in a wide range of studies and trades including health care assistants, pipeline construction, heavy equipment operators and pilot training. Over 51,000 students in B.C. attending a post-secondary institution were enrolled at a private career training institution. It's important to have a system that operates fairly, reasonably and that protects those students and British Columbians whose safety and good health depend on the education the students receive.

"In March 2013 when the ministry issued a Green Paper on the Quality Assurance Framework for B.C.'s post-secondary institutions, I was hopeful that administrative fairness issues we had identified in individual complaints could be addressed by a new quality assurance model", says Carter. "In June 2013, I met with the Ministry of Advanced Education to discuss the nature of the concerns and complaints our office has dealt with and to identify elements important to the fair and effective functioning of a quality assurance process, including adequate complaints processes, accessible public information, ongoing monitoring and compliance programs and a regulatory body that serves the public interest and avoids potential conflicts of interest. In February 2014, when it became clear that the ministry would not be implementing the Green Paper proposals, I notified the ministry and PCTIA that I was commencing a systemic investigation."

As part of the investigation process, the Ombudsperson is providing an opportunity to provide input through a confidential on-line questionnaire at www.bcombudsperson.ca.

The Office of the Ombudsperson receives enquiries and complaints about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction. Its role is to impartially investigate these complaints to determine whether public agencies have acted fairly and reasonably, and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures. In addition to investigating individual complaints, the Ombudsperson also conducts systemic investigations into complex issues and makes recommendations for improvement.

 

 

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