Transcript: Improving Access to Post-Secondary Education | Apr 12, 2018

Nam sits in the studio of “The Agenda.”

Nam is in her forties, with mid-length curly brown hair and wears glasses, a blue top and a blue blazer.

A caption reads “Accessing post-secondary education.”

The caption changes to “Nam Kiwanuka. Twitter: @namshine, @theagenda.”

Nam says IT'S SAID TO BE ONE OF
THE BEST INVESTMENTS ANYONE CAN
MAKE IN THEIR OWN FUTURE:
POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.
BUT IT CAN BE AN INTIMIDATING
PROSPECT, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE
WHO HAVEN'T ALWAYS THRIVED IN
THE TYPICAL CLASSROOM SETTING OR
WHO HAVE BEEN OUT OF SCHOOL FOR
MANY YEARS.
AND, OF COURSE, DUE TO THE COST.
JOINING US NOW TO CONSIDER HOW
TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY FOR
ALL:
JIM VANDERVEKEN, DEAN FOR
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS AND
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AT MOHAWK
COLLEGE;

Jim is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short wavy gray hair. He wears a gray suit, a white shirt, a burgundy tie and a pin on his left lapel.

Nam says SUE GILLESPIE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OFFICER OF PATHWAYS TO
EDUCATION;

Sue is in her forties, with straight blond hair in a bob cut with bangs. She wears glasses, a black top, a blue jacket and a blue pendant necklace.

Nam says AND FIONA DELLER, SENIOR
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
AND POLICY AT THE HIGHER
EDUCATION QUALITY COUNCIL OF
ONTARIO.

Fiona is in her late forties, with long wavy brown hair and wears a blue top, a black cardigan sweater and a chunky golden necklace.

Nam says COTY ZACHARIAH, NATIONAL CHAIR
OF THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF
STUDENTS;

Coty is in his thirties, with long brown hair pulled back in a braid and wears a black shirt and tribal necklace and earrings.

Nam says WELCOME TO YOU ALL.

Sue says THANK YOU.

Nam says REALLY LOOKING FORWARD
TO THIS CONVERSATION.
BUT FIRST WE'D LIKE TO SHOW YOU
A VIDEO OF WHAT YOUR INSTITUTION
MOHAWK COLLEGE IS DOING, AND
THIS IS FROM OUR PRODUCER AND
HOW MOHAWK COLLEGE IS TRYING TO
GET RID OF THE BARRIERS THAT ARE
PREVENTING PEOPLE FROM BEING IN
SCHOOL.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

A clip shows a woman drilling a hole on a wall.

A caption reads “Elizabeth Fleming. City School student, Mohawk College.”

Elizabeth is in her fifties, with short wavy gray hair and wears glasses and a black sweater.

She says I JUST LOVE TO DO IT.
I LOVE TO BE AROUND LUMBER.
LOVE THE SMELL OF THE WOOD.
I LOVE TO HAMMER.
I LOVE TO DRILL.
I ASK THE QUESTION THEY ASK AT
JOB INTERVIEWS, WHERE DO YOU SEE
YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
IS BECAUSE I NEVER SAW HERE.

A reporter says THIS IS
HAMILTON'S NEWEST POSTSECONDARY
OFFERING, A MOBILE CLASSROOM TO
OFFER PEOPLE A TASTE OF THE
TRADES OVER THREE ACTION-PACKED
WEEKS.
IT WAS ROLLED OUT IN THE FALL
AND WHAT MAKES IT ESPECIALLY
UNIQUE IS THE COST.

Curtis says THE BEST PART ABOUT IT IS
THAT IT WAS FREE, AND I'M LIKE,
WOW.
THIS IS GOOD STUFF.

Curtis is in his late forties, with a shadow of a beard and wears a white T-shirt, a gray sweatshirt, a ray jacket and a cap hat.

The reporter says THE TUITION-FREE
MODEL IS A STAPLE OF MOHAWK
COLLEGE'S CITY SCHOOL.
THE PROGRAM WAS LAUNCHED IN 2015
WITH THE INTENTION OF REMOVING
BARRIERS TO POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION.

The caption changes to “Emily Ecker. Mohawk College Associate Dean.”

Emily is in her forties, with mid-length curly brown hair and wears a printed black and white blouse and a pair of hoop earrings.

She says WHAT WE WERE HOPING TO DO WAS
BRING COLLEGE EDUCATION RIGHT
INTO THE CLASSROOM.
IT'S OUR UNDERSTANDING IT'S NOT
CURRENTLY BEING DONE AT THIS
LEVEL, OFFERING FREE COLLEGE
CREDITS WITHIN MARGINALIZED
COMMUNITIES.

The reporter says FOR 56-YEAR-OLD
ELIZABETH FLEMING, IT'S ALSO AN
OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE A
POSTSECONDARY PATH MUCH
DIFFERENT THAN THE ONE SHE FIRST
SET OUT ON.

Elizabeth says I WAS A LAWYER.
SH, DON'T TELL ANYONE.
PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU DIFFERENTLY.
[LAUGHTER]
BECAUSE I WASN'T HAPPY.
I WAS STRESSED OUT.
I WAS WORKING 60 HOURS A WEEK.

The reporter says HANDY WORK HAS
BEEN SOMETHING SHE'S BEEN DRAWN
TO SINCE SHE WAS LITTLE.
NOW SHE WANTS TO TRY TO MAKE A
LIVING AT IT.

Elizabeth says MY PARENTS WERE WORKING CLASS
AND I GOT THE VERY DISTINCT
IMPRESSION WHEN I WAS A KID IS
THEY WERE LOOKING AT US TO GO TO
UNIVERSITY.
MANY PEOPLE IN MY DAD'S FAMILY
WERE TRADESPEOPLE BUT IT WAS
VIEWED AS LESS THAN GOING INTO
THE TRADES.

The caption changes to “Robert Weatherston. City School instructor, Mohawk College.”

Robert is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short wavy gray hair. He wears a gray T-shirt under a gray, blue and orange plaid shirt.

He says THAT'S A BIG PART OF THE CITY
SCHOOL.
ANYBODY CAN JOIN IN THE
EDUCATION, LIKE THERE ARE NO
LIMITS OR LIMITATIONS.

The reporter says CURTIS BLAKE
ALREADY HAS SOME TRADES
EXPERIENCE, STILL HAD TO
OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES OF GOING
BACK TO SCHOOL AT AGE 48.

The caption changes to “Curtis Blake. City School student, Mohawk College.”

Curtis says THE FIRST DAY I CAME IN, I
WAS A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS BECAUSE
I'M SAYING, WHAT IS IT THAT I'M
DOING?
IS IT SOMETHING I ALREADY KNOW?
AM I GOING TO BE DOING A LOT OF
THEORY?
HOW AM I GOING TO COPE BECAUSE
I'VE BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG?
BUT THEN I REALIZED THAT, YOU
KNOW, YOUR FEAR BASICALLY KEEPS
YOU BACK FROM LEARNING AS MUCH
AS YOU CAN.
IF YOU RELEASE THAT FEAR AND LET
IT GO AND JUST MOVE FORWARD TO
WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU WANT,
YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT.

The reporter says OVER AT
HAMILTON'S EVA ROTHWELL CENTRE,
FUTURE CAREER PLANS ARE ALSO
TAKING SHAPE AT ANOTHER FREE
CLASS.
THIS ONE, THOUGH, IS AN
ALL-FEMALE ONE.

The caption changes to “Rebekah Ioannidis. City School instructor, Mohawk College.”

Rebekah is in her forties, with mid-length wavy black hair and wears a black top underneath a plaid green shirt.

She says WE'VE DONE THE ELECTRICAL,
WE'VE DONE THE DRYWALL.
WE DID A LITTLE BIT OF
BACKSPLASH TILING, HOW TO
INSTALL A VANITY AND MOUNT IT TO
THE WALL.
WE'RE GOING TO BE DOING SOME
PLUMBING.
WE'RE SHOWING RESULTS HERE.
AND NOT JUST IN WHAT WE'RE
BUILDING BUT WHAT IT'S DONE FOR
THESE GIRLS, EMPOWERING THEM AND
GIVING THEM CONFIDENCE AND
HELPING THEM TO MAKE DECISIONS
AND FEEL CAPABLE.
GOOD GIRL.

The caption changes to “Mercedes Fisher. City School student, Mohawk College.”

Mercedes is in her twenties, with mid-length brown hair in a side part and wears a red T-shirt and a blue hoodie.

She says I REALLY ENJOYED THE
ELECTRICAL.
I'VE APPLIED TO A
PRE-APPRENTICESHIP STARTING IN
JANUARY.
WHEN YOU'RE AN APPRENTICE, YOU
GET PAID TO LEARN SO THAT'S
REALLY GREAT.
I HAD NO IDEA HOW
APPRENTICESHIPS WORKED BEFORE.

The reporter says JUST LIKE
ELIZABETH MERCEDES HAS PAID THE
PRICE OF POSTSECONDARY PRESSURE.

Mercedes says TUITION IS ABOUT 20 GRAND.
I PAY LIKE 375 A MONTH AND I
DON'T HAVE A DEGREE TO SHOW FOR
IT.

Rebekah teaches Mercedes how to lay tiles.

Mercedes says LIKE THAT?

Mercedes says I REMEMBER MY DAD SAYING TO
ME WHEN I SAID I WASN'T SURE
WHAT I WANTED TO DO, HE SAID
JUST GO TO UNIVERSITY AND YOU'LL
FIGURE IT OUT.
WELL, I'M 28 AND THAT WAS TEN
YEARS AGO.
I HADN'T FIGURED IT OUT.

NO ONE EVER SUGGESTED
COLLEGE.
NO ONE DEFINITELY EVER SUGGESTED
TRADES IN MY FAMILY.
EVEN THOUGH I HAVE A LOT OF
HANDY PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY, BUT
THEY'RE ALL MALE.

The reporter says REBECCA LEARNT
HER SKILLS IN A MALE-DOMINATED
ENVIRONMENT.
SHE WAS THE ONLY FEMALE IN HER
HIGH SCHOOL SHOP CLASS.

Rebekah says A LOT OF GIRLS WERE IN HOME
EC.
IF YOU LOOK BACK TO '83 WHEN I
GRAND WAITED, THERE WERE NURSES
AND FLIGHT ATTENDANTS.
THEY WORKED AT A BANK.
SECRETARY TO A MEDICAL OFFICE.
THOSE WERE THE JOBS.
THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE WENT FOR.

The reporter says NOW HER MISSION
IS TO BREAK THAT STIGMA.

Rebekah says THERE ARE SO MANY
OPPORTUNITIES.
ELECTRICIANS ARE CHARGING 85 DOLLARS AN
HOUR MINIMUM.
YOU MIGHT HAVE A UNIVERSITY
DEGREE AND NEVER MAKE THAT KIND
OF MONEY.

Mercedes says FOR SOME, THE UNIVERSITY THING
TOTALLY WORKS.
THEY CAN JUST GO, LEARN THOSE
FOUR YEARS AND THEY GO ON TO
THEIR MASTER'S.
THEY'RE DRAWN TO THAT METHOD OF
LEARNING.
BUT FOR SOME PEOPLE, IT'S JUST
NOT REALISTIC.

The reporter says THE HOPE IS THIS
TYPE OF LEARNING ENVIRONMENT CAN
HELP CHANGE THE FACE OF AN
INDUSTRY.
WOMEN WILL BE NEEDED TO HELP
FILL THE LARGE GAP LEFT BEHIND
BY AGING BABY BOOMERS.
THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO
BUILD A FOUNDATION IN THE FIELD.
IT COULDN'T COME AT A BETTER
TIME.

Rebekah says I'M VERY PROUD OF THEM.
WHEN THEY CAME IN, THEIR HANDS
WERE TREMBLING BUT THEY APPLIED
THEMSELVES.
THE FIRST THING IS STEPPING TO
THE PLATE.

Curtis says AT THE AGE OF SAY TEN OR SO,
ACTUALLY I MADE MY FIRST LITTLE
GO-CART, YOU KNOW?
AND ONCE I MADE THAT, ACTUALLY,
I WAS SO EXCITED, YOU KNOW.
I SAID TO MYSELF, IF I CAN DO
THIS, I CAN, YOU KNOW, GO
FURTHER.
BUT NOW I'M IN THIS, I'M JUST --
YOU KNOW, I'M EVEN MORE EXCITED.
THAT LITTLE BOY IS STILL THERE.
IT'S STILL THERE.

Elizabeth says IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO DO
STUFF.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE YOUR
DREAMS.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO DO WHAT
MAKES YOU HAPPY.

A caption reads “Agenda producer: Patricia Kozicka. Editor: David Erwin.”

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Reducing barriers.”

Nam says THE JOY FROM SOME OF
THOSE STUDENTS IS PALPABLE.
GREAT JOB, PATRICIA.
WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT
MOHAWK COLLEGE IS DOING TO
DECREASE THE BARRIERS TO ACCESS
AFTER A POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.
FIRST, I'D LIKE TO KNOW FROM
EACH ONE OF YOU IF YOU CAN
DESCRIBE THE STATE OF ACCESS TO
POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION IN OUR
PROVINCE.
FIONA, WE'LL START WITH YOU.

The caption changes to “Fiona Deller. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.”

Fiona says WE HAVE IN
ONTARIO REALLY HIGH
PARTICIPATION RATES.
OUR PARTICIPATION RATE IS AROUND
70 percent.
OVERALL IN THE AGGREGATE, WHEN
YOU LOOK AT HOW WE'RE DOING,
WE'RE DOING FINE.
BUT I THINK THAT IF YOU LOOK AT
THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL, WE STILL
HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE
REALLY STRUGGLING WITH THAT
PATHWAY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL INTO
POSTSECONDARY, AND I THINK ONE
OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO IN OUR
SYSTEM IS THAT WHEN WE FIND A
YOUTH WITH CHALLENGES OR
BARRIERS, WE MAKE THEIR LIFE
EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.

Nam says IN WHAT WAY?

Fiona says SO, FOR INSTANCE -- I'LL GIVE
YOU A FOR INSTANCE.
YOUTH FROM A LOWER SOCIOECONOMIC
BACKGROUND, THEY HAVE TO APPLY
FOR STUDENT AID, RIGHT?
FINANCES ARE A DIFFICULTY.
AND THE STUDENT AID APPLICATION
PROCESS IS ACTUALLY
EXTRAORDINARILY COMPLEX.
I MEAN, I STARTED MY CAREER IN
CANADA STUDENT LOANS, AND THE
FIRST TIME I HELPED MY SON, WHO
WENT BACK TO SCHOOL AS A MATURE
STUDENT, FILL OUT THE STUDENT
AID FORMS, I MESSED UP.
IT'S NOT AN EASY PROCESS.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE MIGHT BE A
STUDENT WHO HAS A DISABILITY OR
STRUGGLES WITH MENTAL ILLNESS,
WHEN THEY GET TO THE
POSTSECONDARY SYSTEM, THEY HAVE
TO REDO THEIR ACCOMMODATION ALL
OVER AGAIN, FIND THE SUPPORTS ON
CAMPUS.
VERY OFTEN THERE'S A WAITING
LIST FOR YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT.
WE MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR
THEM.
AND I THINK WHAT WE NEED TO LOOK
TO IS, WHAT IS THE
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SYSTEM TO
CHANGE TO ACCOMMODATE THE
STUDENTS, RIGHT?
SO I THINK, YOU KNOW, TODAY
WE'RE GOING TO TALK A LOT ABOUT
PROGRAMS AND A LOT OF THESE
PROGRAMS ARE REALLY, REALLY
INTERESTING.
BUT WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THESE
PROGRAMS THAT CAN ACTUALLY BE
APPLIED AT THE SYSTEM LEVEL?
WE ACTUALLY HAVE A SYSTEM, A
POSTSECONDARY SYSTEM, THAT ACTS
AS A WELCOME MAT RATHER THAN A
GATEKEEPER.

Nam says GATEKEEPER,
INTERESTING.
COTY, WHAT ABOUT YOU?
IS POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
ACCESSIBLE IN ONTARIO?

The caption changes to “Coty Zachariah. Canadian Federation of Students.”

Coty says I WOULD SAY
THAT THERE'S DEFINITELY BARRIERS
TO EDUCATION IN ONTARIO.
IN ONTARIO WE PAY THE HIGHEST
TUITION IN THE COUNTRY.
THAT'S A WELL-KNOWN FACT.
AND ON TOP OF THAT --

Nam says WE'RE GOING TO BE
TALKING MORE ABOUT THAT IN A
SECOND.

Coty says IF YOU COME FROM A LOW OR MID
INCOME FAMILY AND YOU HAVE TO
TAKE A STUDENT LOAN, THERE'S
INTEREST ON THAT LOAN.
SO STUDENTS WHO ARE GRADUATING
WITH AN AVERAGE OF 30,000 DOLLARS IN
DEBT ARE HAVING TO PAY AN
AVERAGE OF 10,000 DOLLARS ON TOP OF
THAT BECAUSE OF INTEREST ON THAT
LOAN.
BUT ESSENTIALLY THAT'S STILL
TARGETING SOME OF THE MOST
VULNERABLE LEARNERS, THOSE WHO
CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY THE HIGH
UPFRONT COSTS OF EDUCATION ARE
ESSENTIALLY HAVING TO PAY MORE.
SO SOME OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE
LEARNERS ARE HAVING TO PAY MORE
FOR EDUCATION AND I DON'T THINK
THAT'S FAIR.

Nam says AND GOING INTO DEBT
THROUGH THE PROCESS.

Coty says ABSOLUTELY.

Nam says JIM, WHAT DO YOU
THINK?

The caption changes to “Jim Vanderveken. Mohawk College.”

Jim says I THINK
WE'VE MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS
AS A PROVINCE.
I THINK THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S
EFFORTS TO ESSENTIALLY INTRODUCE
A TUITION STRATEGY FOR LOW
INCOME FAMILIES, I THINK MARKS A
VERY SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE FROM
THE PAST IN TERMS OF INCREASING
ACCESSIBILITY.
BUT THERE ARE STILL POPULATIONS,
AND WE KNOW THAT.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN HAMILTON, THERE
ARE STILL SIGNIFICANT AREAS OF
THE CITY, THE LOWER CITY
PARTICULARLY, WHERE THERE ARE
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN POVERTY WHO
LIVE PRECARIOUS LIVES.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT
EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY CAN
BENEFIT FROM THE POSTSECONDARY
EXPERIENCE.
AND I THINK IT IS ONE OF MAKING
SURE THAT, AS FIONA POINTS OUT,
WE NEED TO HELP THEM NAVIGATE
THOSE PATHWAYS BECAUSE THEY CAN
BE COMPLEX AND THEY DO HAVE
CHALLENGES.
THEY'RE TAKING CARE OF
DEPENDENTS.
THEY HAVE OTHER
RESPONSIBILITIES.
AND THINKING ABOUT A
POSTSECONDARY JOURNEY CAN BE
SOMEWHAT -- A LITTLE BIT
OVERWHELMING FOR THEM.
SO HOW DO WE HELP THEM AS
INSTITUTIONS AND AS THE
COMMUNITY IN SUPPORT OF THAT
GOAL?

Nam says YOU'RE DOING SOME
GREAT STUFF AT MOHAWK COLLEGE.
I KEEP GETTING ALONG.
WE'LL GET MORE INTO THAT.
FINALLY, SUE, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to “Sue Gillespie. Pathways to Education.”

Sue says THERE ARE
SOME CHALLENGES, ABSOLUTELY, IN
APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL AID AND
OTHER SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS WHO
DESIRE TO ENGAGE, WHETHER IT'S
IN THE TRADES, COLLEGES OR
UNIVERSITY SYSTEM.
I THINK THERE'S AN ELEMENT ABOUT
MAKING SURE THAT THE SUPPORTS
ARE HOLISTIC.
SO WE'VE LEARNED AT PATHWAYS
THAT HOLISTIC SUPPORTS ARE
ESSENTIAL.

Nam says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Sue says IT MEANS LOOKING AT ALL THE
POTENTIAL BARRIERS AND OFFERING
SOLUTIONS TO THOSE BARRIERS.
SO THE FINANCIAL BARRIERS ARE
SIGNIFICANT.
BUT THERE ARE OTHER BARRIERS.
JIM ALLUDED TO SOME OF THE LIFE
CIRCUMSTANCES, IF YOU HAVE
CHILDREN AND YOU WANT TO GO BACK
TO SCHOOL OR OTHER DEPENDENTS
THAT YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR, YOU
NEED TO CONTINUE TO WORK.
SO TUITION ISN'T THE ONLY COST
TO EDUCATION.
YOU ALSO NEED TO THINK ABOUT HOW
YOU'RE GOING TO GET TO AND FROM
SCHOOL AND WHAT IS THAT TIME
COMMITMENT?
AND SO THINKING ABOUT THE
FINANCIAL BARRIERS BUT THERE
COULD ALSO BE OTHER THINGS, IF
YOU NEED ACADEMIC SUPPORT OR
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST REALLY
HELPFUL TO HAVE A MENTOR,
SOMEONE AROUND YOU THAT HAS GONE
THROUGH THAT SAME CAREER PATH AS
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT AND WILL
ENCOURAGE YOU WHEN THERE ARE
SOME CHALLENGES.

Nam says THAT'S WHAT WE WOULD
CALL SOCIAL CAPITAL, RIGHT?

Sue says MM-HMM.

Nam says NOT EVERYBODY HAS
ACCESS TO THAT.

Sue says THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.

Nam says LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT
SOME OF THE NUMBERS THAT WE'VE
BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

A bar chart appears on screen with the title “Average undergraduate tuition fees across Canada 2017-2018.”

The numbers read: Canada, 6571; Newfoundland and Labrador, 2814; Prince Edward Island, 6498; Nova Scotia, 7726; New Brunswick, 6893; Quebec, 2889; Ontario, 8454; Manitoba, 4158, Saskatoon, 7205; Alberta, 5749, and British Columbia, 5635.”

Nam says THE AVERAGE UNDERGRADUATE
TUITION FEES ACROSS CANADA, AND
THE AVERAGE UNDERGRADUATE
TUITION IN CANADA IS 6,571 DOLLARS.
AND ONTARIO STUDENTS ARE PAYING
ALMOST 2,000 DOLLARS MORE THAN THAT.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE MOST
EXPENSIVE TUITION IN CANADA.
THE FIVE MOST EXPENSIVE
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION FEES ARE
FOUND RIGHT HERE IN ONTARIO.
NUMBER ONE, WE'VE GOT LONDON AT
ALMOST 11,000 DOLLARS.
SECOND PLACE WE'VE GOT KITCHENER
CAMBRIDGE AT ALMOST 9,500 DOLLARS.
IN THIRD PLACE WE'VE GOT
KINGSTON AT OVER 9,000 DOLLARS.
AND FOURTH PLACE WE'VE GOT
TORONTO AT 8,591 DOLLARS.
AND LASTLY WE HAVE AT NUMBER 5
HAMILTON AT 8,200 DOLLARS.
COTY, AS A STUDENT
REPRESENTATIVE, WHAT GOES
THROUGH YOUR FIND WHEN YOU SEE
THESE FIGURES?

Coty says I THINK
ABOUT ALL THE STUDENTS WHO SEE
THOSE NUMBERS AND THINK THAT
THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO GO TO
SCHOOL, WHO DON'T WANT TO TAKE
ON STUDENT DEBT.
SO I SEE THOSE NUMBERS AS
BARRIERS.
AT CFS WE BELIEVE --

Nam says WHAT'S CFS?

Coty says CANADIAN FEDERATION OF
STUDENTS.
SORRY.
WE BELIEVE THAT EDUCATION IS A
RIGHT AND FOR INDIGENOUS
STUDENTS EDUCATION IS A TREATY
RIGHT.
AND THAT WAS OUTLINED IN THE
ROYAL PROCLAMATION IN 1763.

Nam says INDIGENOUS STUDENTS
ALSO HAVE TO PAY?

Coty says INDIGENOUS STUDENTS
DEFINITELY STILL HAVE TO PAY.
THAT'S KIND OF A MYTH.
PEOPLE THINK INDIGENOUS STUDENTS
GET EDUCATION FOR FREE.
THERE ARE PROGRAMS LIKE THE
POSTSECONDARY STUDENT SUPPORT
PROGRAM WHICH HELP INDIGENOUS
LEARNERS GET IN, BUT THE FACT IS
THE PROGRAM IS CHRONICALLY
UNDERFUNDED.
AN EXAMPLE FROM 2006 TO 2011,
18,500 STUDENTS WERE DENIED
FUNDING THROUGH THAT PROGRAM.
AND THAT'S ROUGHLY HALF OF THE
STUDENTS THAT WERE ELIGIBLE.
SO THAT'S HALF OF THE INDIGENOUS
LEARNERS THAT WERE ELIGIBLE
THROUGH THAT FIVE-YEAR SPAN THAT
DIDN'T GET THAT SAME ACCESS THAT
SAY I DID BECAUSE I DID GET
ACCESS TO THAT PROGRAM.

Nam says BUT PEOPLE IN YOUR
FAMILY DIDN'T AS WELL; IS THAT
RIGHT?

Coty says THAT'S RIGHT.
ACTUALLY MY LITTLE BROTHER WAS
DENIED FUNDING TWICE FROM THAT
PROGRAM.
NOW HE'S IN A SITUATION OF,
WELL, WHAT DO I DO?
WHERE DO I GO?
AND WE BELIEVE AND I BELIEVE
PERSONALLY THAT EDUCATION IS A
TOOL OF EMPOWERMENT AND A
PATHWAY OUT OF POVERTY.
I KNOW THAT BECAUSE I'VE LIVED
THAT, THROUGH THAT ACCESS.
I THINK ABOUT ALL THOSE STUDENTS
WHO DIDN'T GET THAT ACCESS.

Nam says HOW HAS EDUCATION
CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

Coty says DRASTICALLY.
DRASTICALLY.
BEFORE GOING INTO COLLEGE, I
DIDN'T KNOW KIND OF WHERE I WAS
GOING, WHAT I WAS DOING.
I DIDN'T SEE MYSELF IN ACADEMIA.
I DIDN'T THINK THAT THAT WAS A
PLACE FOR ME UNTIL I GOT THROUGH
THOSE DOORS.

Nam says AND YOU DIDN'T THINK
IT WAS A PLACE FOR YOU
BECAUSE ...

Coty says BECAUSE I CAME FROM A LOW
INCOME FAMILY.
NOBODY -- NONE OF MY PARENTS
WENT TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.
I WAS THE FIRST ONE.
YEAH.
SO THAT CAN BE DAUNTING, TO BE
THAT FIRST ONE TO KIND OF BREAK
THAT BARRIER AND GO THROUGH
THAT.

Nam says WE'RE LUCKY TO HAVE
YOU HERE TODAY BECAUSE YOU'VE
BEEN TRAVELLING.

Coty says I HAVE BEEN.

Nam says YOU JUST CAME BACK
FROM A SUMMIT IN THE U.S. THAT
DISCUSSED EDUCATION ACCESS.
WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST
TAKE-AWAYS FROM THAT SUMMIT IN
TERMS OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF
CHALLENGING WE'RE HE
EXPERIENCING IN NORTH AMERICA,
NOT JUST ONTARIO?

The caption changes to “Coty Zachariah. @CZach5.”

Coty says MY BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY WAS THE
SIMILARITIES.
STUDENTS DOWN THERE, THEIR
TUITION IS HIGHER.

Nam says PEOPLE SAY 60,000,
70,000.

The caption changes to “Connect with us: tvo.org, @theagenda, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Instagram.”

Coty says SOME PAY 80,000 A YEAR WHILE
I WAS DOWN THERE.
THAT'S -- THAT'S A BARRIER.
THAT'S PREVENTING A SHARP MIND
FROM THOSE OPPORTUNITIES --

Nam says BUT WHEN YOU HEAR
THOSE NUMBERS COMPARED TO WHAT
WE'RE PAYING, SOME PEOPLE WILL
BE THINKING WE PAY A TENTH OF
THAT.
SO DO WE REALLY HAVE BARRIERS TO
POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION IN
CANADA OR ARE WE NOT REALIZING
THAT WE HAVE IT BETTER THAN
OTHER COUNTRIES?

Coty says I WOULD SAY IT'S STILL A
BARRIER BECAUSE IT'S STILL
PREVENTING YOU FROM GETTING IN.
OUR SITUATION IS DIFFERENT FROM
THE U.S.A. BUT IT'S STILL A
REALITY HERE THAT'S PREVENTING
YOU FROM GETTING INTO THOSE
INSTITUTIONS.

Nam says FIONA, YOU HAVE A
Ph.D. IN A FIELD OF HIGHER
LEARNING.
BUT YOU HAD TO OVERCOME SOME OF
YOUR OWN HURDLES TO GET THERE.
WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU?

Fiona says SURE.
SO I ACTUALLY QUIT HIGH SCHOOL,
AND I HAVE A Ph.D..

Nam says WELL DONE.

Fiona says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
ONE OF THE THINGS, THOUGH,
THAT I THINK IS IMPORTANT TO
LOOK AT IN TERMS OF MY STORY IS
I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS GOING TO GO
BACK.
I MEAN, I COME FROM A FAMILY
WHERE BOTH MY PARENTS HAD
UNIVERSITY EDUCATIONS.
I FELT -- MY MOTHER'S A
PROFESSOR.
I FELT VERY FAMILIAR ON
UNIVERSITY CAMPUS.
AND WHEN I WAS READY TO GO BACK,
WHICH WAS LATER IN MY 20s AND
MID-20s, I SORT OF -- I KNEW
HOW TO NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM IN
SUCH A WAY I COULD FIGURE OUT
HOW TO GO BACK AS A MATURE
STUDENT AND I ACTUALLY HAD MY
SON IN MY FIRST YEAR OF
UNIVERSITY, AND EVEN THAT WAS --
IT WAS NOT THAT DIFFICULT FOR ME
TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO NAVIGATE
BECAUSE I FELT COMFORTABLE
THERE.
I FELT LIKE I BELONGED THERE,
YOU KNOW?
AND I THINK THAT THAT IS -- TO
BE HONEST, THAT'S A PRIVILEGE,
RIGHT, THAT I BROUGHT WITH ME
FROM MY FAMILY BACKGROUND.

Nam says BUT WHAT IF YOU DON'T
HAVE ANYBODY IN YOUR FAMILY
THAT'S EVER GONE TO SCHOOL.

Fiona says EXACTLY.

Nam says AND YOU'RE FACING
BARRIERS?
WHAT THEN?
DOES THAT MEAN THAT YOU'RE NOT
DESTINED AT ALL TO GO TO SCHOOL?

Fiona says NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.
YOU HAVE TWO STUDENTS, SO YOU
HAVE LUCY AND JOCELYNE, AND
LUCY'S PARENTS DID NOT GO TO
POSTSECONDARY AND JOCELYNE'S
PARENTS DID.
JOCELYNE DECIDES NOT TO GO TO
POSTSECONDARY HERSELF, AND LUCY
GOES THROUGH UNIVERSITY.
JOCELYNE STILL DOES BETTER IN
THE LABOUR MARKET.

Nam says DO YOU KNOW WHY?

Fiona says IT'S SOCIAL CAPITAL.
AS YOU SAID, YOU KNOW?
JOCELYNE'S PARENTS KNOW HOW TO
TEACH HER TO HAVE THAT
CONFIDENCE THAT SHE BELONGS
SOMEWHERE, THAT SHE KNOWS HOW TO
NAVIGATE A SYSTEM, THAT THAT
SYSTEM IS HERS FOR THE TAKING.
I MEAN, THERE IS ALL OF THAT
THAT TRAVELS WITH US THROUGHOUT
OUR EDUCATIONAL PATHWAY, AND
WHAT I'M ARGUING FOR IN TERMS OF
SYSTEM CHANGES, NOT THAT WE GIVE
ANYBODY A FREE RIDE OR TAKE AWAY
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY OR
CHOICE, BUT THAT WE DON'T CREATE
MORE BARRIERS FOR STUDENTS WHO
ALREADY HAVE BARRIERS.
WE DON'T COMPOUND THOSE
CHALLENGES BY SAYING, "NOW YOU
HAVE TO APPLY FOR A PROGRAM AND
FILL OUT A FORM AND FIGURE IT
OUT AND FIGURE OUT ALL THIS
INFORMATION THAT'S COMING AT
YOU, REALLY HARD AND REALLY
FAST, THAT YOU HAVE NO WAY OF
NAVIGATING.
IF WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE
THE SYSTEM MORE RESPONSIVE TO
STUDENTS INSTEAD OF SETTING UP
MORE CHALLENGES, MORE BARRIERS
FOR THOSE STUDENTS WHO ALREADY
HAVE CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS, I
THINK WE'LL GO A LONG WAY TO
HAVING THAT WELCOME MAT INSTEAD
OF THAT GATEKEEPER.

Nam says I DID GO THROUGH THAT
WHEN I WAS APPLYING FOR OSAP.
HAMILTON HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST
TUITION RATES IN THE PROVINCE.
HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO OFFER THESE
COURSES AT MOHAWK COLLEGE FOR
FREE.

Jim says WHAT WE
DID IS, FIRST OF ALL, WE HAD TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CHALLENGES
WERE IN THE COMMUNITY.
AND WHEN WE LOOKED AT THE --
THERE WAS A REPORT DONE BY THE
LOCAL NEWSPAPER, THE HAMILTON
SPECTATOR, AND THEY DID A SERIES
OF ARTICLES CALLED "CODE RED."
REALLY, THAT BECAME A CATALYST
FOR REALLY COALESCING THE
COMMUNITY AROUND THE ISSUES OF
POVERTY AND SOME OF THE SOCIAL
DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH AND THE
TREMENDOUS DISPARITIES THAT
EXISTED IN THE COMMUNITY,
BETWEEN NEIGHBOURHOODS, BETWEEN
THE NORTHEAST SIDE OF THE
COMMUNITY AND THE WEST SIDE OF
THE COMMUNITY.
SO, WE HAD, YOU KNOW, ONE, IN
THOSE NORTH END NEIGHBOURHOODS,
WE HAVE ONE IN FIVE INDIVIDUALS
WHO DON'T HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL
DIPLOMA.
WE HAVE ONE IN THREE WHO DON'T
HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN A
POSTSECONDARY ENVIRONMENT.
WE HAVE ONE IN FIVE CHILDREN WHO
ARE TOUCHED BY POVERTY.
THERE ARE SOME VERY SIGNIFICANT
CHALLENGES FOR THE COMMUNITY,
AND I THINK WHAT MOHAWK DECIDED
TO DO IS, RATHER THAN TO TAKE A
PASSIVE APPROACH TO THAT
PARTICULAR CHALLENGE, WE DECIDED
THAT WE WANTED TO BECOME A
LEADER IN THAT REGARD.

Nam says HOW CAN YOU AFFORD IT?

Jim says WELL, WHAT WE'RE DOING IS,
WE'RE LEVERAGING A NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT THINGS.
WE ARE LEVERAGING NOT ONLY SOME
OF OUR RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE
WITHIN THE COLLEGE COMMUNITY, WE
ARE LEVERAGING SOME PARTNERSHIPS
AS WELL.
WE HAVE PARTICULARLY SOME
FRIENDS IN THE COMMUNITY,
PHILANTHROPISTS, WHO WISH TO --
WHO WANT TO JOIN US ON THIS
MISSION, AND SO THROUGH A
COMBINATION OF THAT, WE ARE ABLE
TO UNDERWRITE.
BUT I THINK IT DRIVES THE POINT
THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE, AS
YOU CAN SEE, THE TUITION LEVELS
ARE SIGNIFICANT.
FRANKLY, IN ORDER TO APPLY FOR
THE COLLEGE, YOU HAVE TO APPLY
THROUGH OCAS, SO THE ONTARIO
COLLEGE APPLICATION SERVICE.
YOU HAVE TO PAY A 95 DOLLAR FEE IN
ORDER TO GET INTO OCAS IN ORDER
TO APPLY.

Nam says ALSO ASSUMING THAT
EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO
INTERNET.

Jim says ABSOLUTELY.
DIGITAL EQUITY IS ONE ISSUE.
DO THEY HAVE 95 DOLLARS TO PAY THE OCAS
FEE.
WE TALK ABOUT 8,000 DOLLARS FOR TUITION
ON AN ANNUAL BASIS?
SOME INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
DON'T HAVE 95 DOLLARS TO APPLY FOR THAT
OCAS OPPORTUNITY.
SO WE NEED TO BE VERY COGNIZANT
OF THESE CHALLENGES, AND WE NEED
TO PUT INTERVENTIONS IN PLACE.
I THINK THE OTHER PIECE HERE IS
NOT ONLY JUST THE AFFORDABILITY
BUT THE VALUE OF A POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION.
WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE
UNDERSTAND WHY THEY'RE PURSUING
A POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, WHAT
THE OUTCOMES WILL BE FOR
THEMSELVES, FOR THEIR FAMILIES,
FOR THEIR CHILDREN.
AND CERTAINLY IN HAMILTON AND
THE INITIATIVE THAT WE'VE
EMBARKED ON, IS ONE OF NOT ONLY
AFFECTING THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT
ARE PARTICIPATING IN OUR
CLASSES, THAT GENERATIONAL SHIFT
AS WELL.
IMPACTING THE CHILDREN OF THOSE
PARTICIPANTS, SO THAT THEY
UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE
PART OF A POSTSECONDARY
ENVIRONMENT AND WHAT THE
OUTCOMES WOULD BE FOR THOSE
INDIVIDUALS.

Nam says AND IN THE VIDEO THAT
WE DID, THAT WE SAW FROM
PATRICIA, THEY WERE CONSTRUCTION
CLASSES.
DO YOU OFFER OTHER CLASSES
BESIDES THAT?

Jim says YES.
WE HAVE, OF COURSE -- WE'RE A
COMPREHENSIVE COLLEGE.
WE HAVE A VARIETY OF ACADEMIC
AREAS: HUMAN SERVICES,
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY,
BUSINESS, MARKETING,
ADVERTISING, LIBERAL STUDIES,
AND SO ON.
SO WHAT WE HAVE DONE IS
INTENTIONALLY MAKE SURE THAT WE
HAVE A VARIETY OF OPPORTUNITIES
FOR INDIVIDUALS.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT,
REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEIR
INTERESTS LIE, WE WANT TO ENGAGE
THEM IN THAT INITIAL STEP.
AND WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE
PATHWAY TO A POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION IS REALLY ONE OF
SHALLOW STEPS FORWARD.
IT'S MAKING SURE THAT THEY HAVE
THE SELF AGENCY, THE SELF
CONFIDENCE, THE SELF ESTEEM, TO
MAKE SURE THAT THEY CAN MOVE
FORWARD WITH THAT DREAM THAT
THEY HAVE, THE HOPES THAT THEY
HAVE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR
FAMILIES.

The caption changes to “Jim Vanderveken. @jvanvek.”

The caption changes to “Subscribe to The Agenda podcasts: TVO.org/theagenda.”

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Early intervention.”

Nam says SO YOU WORK WITH HIGH
SCHOOL STUDENTS AND YOU HELP
THEM GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL
AND THEN TO FACE WHAT'S COMING
UP NEXT.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHAT JIM IS
DOING AT MOHAWK COLLEGE?

The caption changes to “Sue Gillespie. @SueGillespie11.”

Sue says IT'S FABULOUS.
THEY'RE ONE OF OUR KEY PARTNERS.
WHAT WE REALLY APPRECIATE WITH
MOHAWK COLLEGE IS THE STUDENTS,
THE COLLEGE STUDENTS, ARE COMING
TO THE COMMUNITY WHERE OUR
PATHWAYS STUDENTS ARE AND
SETTING A GREAT EXAMPLE.
THEY'RE BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
WITH THOSE STUDENTS AND THEY'RE
SUPPORTING THOSE STUDENTS IN
THAT DECISION-MAKING PROCESS SO
THAT THEY CAN SEE THEMSELVES
REFLECTED A LITTLE BIT, START
THINKING ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES
AND LEARNING ABOUT WHAT COLLEGE
IS ALL ABOUT.
YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE THING THAT
IS REALLY IMPORTANT, AS STUDENTS
ARE TRYING TO MAKE THESE
DECISIONS, IS THAT THEY
UNDERSTAND THEIR CHOICES.
AND THERE IS A LOT AROUND THAT.
SO THEY DO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT
THE VALUE.
THEY HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT
CAREERS THEY MIGHT HAVE, WHICH
IS REALLY TRICKY, BECAUSE WE
ALSO KNOW THAT, YOU KNOW,
FREQUENT CONVERSATIONS AROUND
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE CAREERS AND
HOW DO WE KNOW?

Nam says PEOPLE VALUE CERTAIN
PROFESSIONS MORE THAN OTHERS,
FOR WHATEVER REASON.

Sue says ABSOLUTELY.
ABSOLUTELY.
WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT PATHWAYS,
YOU KNOW, WE MIGHT SHARE WITH A
STUDENT WHO WANTS TO BE A
DOCTOR.
WE TALK ABOUT ALL THE OTHER
CAREERS WITHIN THE HOSPITAL
SETTING THAT SUPPORT GOOD
HEALTH.
AND SO IT IS SUPPORTING THE
STUDENTS TO REALLY UNDERSTAND
WHAT THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE, AND
AT PATHWAYS, WE START THAT
PROCESS IN GRADE 9.
AND IT IS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT --
AFFORDABILITY IS A BIG, BIG
BARRIER.
AND IN GRADE 9, THE STUDENTS
MIGHT NOT EVEN BELIEVE THAT THEY
CAN ATTEND POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION BECAUSE THEY CAN'T
IMAGINE HOW THEY WOULD EVER
AFFORD SCHOOL.
AND THE PARENTS MAY NOT EVEN
ENCOURAGE POSTSECONDARY.
PARENTS WILL SAY TO US, "I DID
NOT WANT TO ENCOURAGE MY STUDENT
TO GO ON BECAUSE I CAN'T IMAGINE
HOW I'M GOING TO SUPPORT, YOU
KNOW, ONE OF MY CHILDREN, LET
ALONE IF I HAVE MORE THAN ONE
CHILD, HOW WILL I EVER ENABLE
THEM TO GO TO POSTSECONDARY?"
SO THAT PROCESS AROUND EDUCATING
CANADIANS ABOUT THE VALUE OF
EDUCATION, THE SUPPORTS THAT ARE
AVAILABLE, AND THEN SIMPLIFYING
THE PROCESSES TO ACCESS THOSE
SUPPORTS, MINIMIZING THE RISK
THAT STUDENTS ARE TAKING WHEN
THEY GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL.

Nam says MINIMIZING THE RISKS?
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Sue says A FEW DIFFERENT THINGS.
YOU KNOW, I THINK EVERYONE HERE
HAS RAISED DIFFERENT EXAMPLES.
FIRST OF ALL, TAKING ON THE DEBT
THAT POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION MAY
PRESENT IS ONE OF THOSE RISKS.
BUT MAKING THAT TRANSITION ISN'T
ALWAYS EASY.
THERE'S CHALLENGES ALONG THE
WAY, YOU KNOW, ANYBODY WHO HAS
GONE THROUGH THAT EXPERIENCE
UNDERSTANDS THAT FIRST YEAR YOU
LEARN A NEW ENVIRONMENT, YOU
DON'T NECESSARILY UNDERSTAND
FULLY HOW TO BEST ENGAGE, WHERE
TO SEEK OUT ADDITIONAL SUPPORTS,
AND VERY QUICKLY, IF SOMETHING
GOES WRONG -- MAYBE YOU'RE ILL
YOURSELF OR MAYBE A FAMILY
MEMBER YOU CARE FOR HAS SOME
CHALLENGES OR YOU NEED TO WORK
EXTRA HOURS, YOU KNOW, A WEEK
CAN GO BY AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE
BEHIND AND THAT JUST INCREASES
THE PRESSURE SIGNIFICANTLY ON
THE STUDENT.
YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE YOUR
PERSPECTIVE ON THE SHALLOW
STEPS.
EDUCATION IS A JOURNEY AND IT IS
NOT A STRAIGHT PATH, AND THERE
ARE MANY SMALL BUMPS TO NAVIGATE
AND DEFINITELY SOME BIGGER
SYSTEMIC BARRIERS THAT PRESENT A
CHALLENGE.
THE SUPPORTS ARE THERE, AND SO
IT'S TAKING THAT HOLISTIC
APPROACH AND REALLY HELPING THE
STUDENT AND THEIR FAMILIES
NAVIGATE THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS AS
BEST AS THEY CAN.

Nam says WELL, THE GOVERNMENT
HAS BEEN TRYING TO MAKE IT A
LITTLE EASIER ON STUDENTS
THROUGH SOME FUNDING
COMMITMENTS.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT A FEW OF
THOSE INITIATIVES.

Nam reads data from a slate with the title “Post-Secondary Funding. Ontario Government’s Pledge.”

Nam says 800,000 FULL-TIME STUDENTS,
ALMOST A QUARTER OF THOSE,
225,000 INDIVIDUALS ARE
RECEIVING FREE AVERAGE TUITION.
13,500 OF THOSE ARE SINGLE
MOTHERS.
OPEN TEXTBOOKS INITIATIVE, A
1 MILLION DOLLAR COMMITMENT FOR
CREATION OF FREE ONLINE
TEXTBOOKS AND RESOURCES FOR
STUDENTS.
3 BILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT 10
YEARS THAT WILL BE INVESTED IN
POSTSECONDARY INFRASTRUCTURE.
COTY, I WANT TO ASK YOU: WHAT DO
YOU THINK OF THESE FINANCIAL
PROMISES?

Coty says THE THING
WITH SINGLE MOTHERS I THINK IT'S
GREAT THAT THOSE OPPORTUNITIES
ARE BEING OUT THERE, BUT IT
STILL IN THE FEDERAL BUDGET
DIDN'T ADDRESS THE HIGH COST OF
CHILD CARE WHICH PREVENTS A LOT
OF PARENTS --

Nam says IN SOME PLACES IT'S
MORE THAN WHAT YOU PAY FOR
UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE, RIGHT?

Coty says THAT'S RIGHT.
IN TORONTO WE HAVE SOME OF THE
HIGHEST CHILD CARE IN THE
COUNTRY.
I KNOW THAT PERSONALLY BECAUSE
I'M RAISING A CHILD IN TORONTO.
AND THAT PREVENTS MORE OFTEN
THAN NOT THE MOTHERS FROM GOING
TO SCHOOL AND 60 percent OF STUDENTS IN
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ARE
FEMALE NOW.

Nam says THE BUDGET THAT WAS
TABLED, THEY ARE NOW OFFERING,
IF THEY ARE REELECTED, FREE
SPACES FOR KIDS TWO AND A HALF
AND OLDER.
DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD HELP?

Coty says TWO AND A HALF AND OLDER.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS THAT ARE
YOUNGER THAN THAT?
THESE ARE GREAT INITIATIVES, BUT
I THINK THE PIECEMEAL REFORMS
STILL ARE LEAVING SOME PEOPLE
OUT, SOME PEOPLE WHO AREN'T
ELIGIBLE FOR THOSE PROGRAMS OR
THEIR KIDS AREN'T OLD ENOUGH TO
GET INTO THAT CARE PROGRAM.

Nam says IT'S BEEN A WHILE
SINCE I WAS AT UNIVERSITY, BUT I
KNOW TEXTBOOKS ARE VERY
EXPENSIVE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE OPEN
TEXTBOOKS INITIATIVE?

Coty says I THINK THAT'S GREAT.
PROVIDING MORE RESOURCES TO
STUDENTS TO LOWER THE COST,
TEXTBOOKS ARE VERY HIGH.
THEY GO UP EVERY YEAR.
AGAIN, THAT'S A BARRIER.
ELIMINATING THAT BARRIER REDUCES
STRESS ON STUDENTS.

Nam says JIM, WHAT DO YOU THINK
OF SOME OF THESE FINANCIAL
PROMISES?

Jim says WELL, I
THINK THAT -- ALTHOUGH I THINK
THOSE INVESTMENTS ARE VERY
VALUABLE, THERE IS STILL MUCH
GROUNDWORK TO BE DONE BY
INDIVIDUAL ORGANIZATIONS AND
PARTNERS IN EACH OF THE
COMMUNITIES TO MAKE SURE THAT
WE'RE CONNECTING THE PIECES FOR
INDIVIDUALS.

Nam says AND, FIONA, WHAT DO
YOU THINK OF THESE FINANCIAL
PROMISES?

The caption changes to “Fiona Deller. @HEQCO.”

Fiona says I THINK IT'S
A REALLY NICE FIRST STEP.
IT'S A REALLY NICE
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE FACT THAT
TUITION CAN BE A STICKER SHOCK,
IT CAN BE A BARRIER IN AND OF
ITSELF, AND THAT PEOPLE NEED A
LITTLE BIT OF HELP WITH THAT.
THE IDEA OF FREE TUITION IS IS A
VERY POWERFUL IDEA.
IT CAN MOTIVATE PEOPLE --

Nam says BUT IT'S GREAT FOR OUR
GENERATION, OUR CHILDREN, BUT
WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THAT IN
THE LONG RUN?

Fiona says WELL, I THINK IT'S EVEN MORE
THAN THAT.
IT'S THAT TUITION IN AND OF
ITSELF IS NOT THE ONLY BARRIER,
AND TO HAVE A PROGRAM THAT
SUGGESTS THAT TUITION IN AND OF
ITSELF IS THE ONLY BARRIER, IT'S
A BIT INGENUOUS.
AS JIM SAID, THERE IS A LOT MORE
GROUNDWORK TO BE DONE.
THERE'S A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT
AN ARCHITECT AT McMASTER WHO
WAS ASKED TO DESIGN AN OUTDOOR
SPACE, AND THEY SAID, WHERE ARE
YOU GOING TO BUILD THE PATHWAYS?
HE SAID WHAT I'M GOING TO DO IS
I'M GOING TO LAY DOWN GRASS AND
I'M GOING TO WATCH WHERE THE
STUDENTS WALK FOR A YEAR, AND
AFTER A YEAR, I'M GOING TO SEE
WHERE THEY WALK AND THAT'S WHERE
I'M GOING TO PUT THE PATHWAYS.

Nam says I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT
THIS UP BECAUSE, COTY, YOU'RE A
STUDENT REP.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOP
CONCERNS OF STUDENTS ON
CAMPUSES?

Coty says ONE OF THE BIGGEST ONES IS
STUDENT DEBT.
RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A 28 BILLION DOLLAR
NATIONAL STUDENT DEBT, AND I
WOULD SAY THAT, YOU KNOW, WE
LIVE IN A COUNTRY THAT CAN
AFFORD FREE TUITION.
I MEAN, I THINK EVEN --
EVERYBODY DESERVES UNIVERSAL
ACCESS TO EDUCATION.
EVEN KIDS OF SOME OF OUR
WEALTHIEST.
I THINK WHERE SOME OF THE
PROBLEMS LIE IS IN THE TAX
LOOPHOLES THAT EXIST.
EVERY YEAR 50 BILLION DOLLARS OF TAXES
GOES UNCOLLECTED.
AND THAT'S ENOUGH TO FULLY FUND
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM.
AND THAT'S EVERY YEAR.
SO I THINK, NO MATTER WHICH
FAMILY YOU COME FROM, YOU
DESERVE THAT RIGHT TO EDUCATION.

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Indigenous under-representation.”

Nam says AND INDIGENOUS
STUDENTS, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT
IT A LITTLE EARLIER, IN THE
NORTH DISPROPORTIONATELY THEY'RE
NOT REPRESENTED IN POSTSECONDARY
INSTITUTIONS.
WHY SHOULD WE ALL BE CONCERNED
ABOUT THAT?

Coty says I THINK WE'RE LEAVING A
SECTION OF OUR DEMOGRAPHIC
BEHIND.
INDIGENOUS YOUTH IS THE FASTEST
GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC IN THE
COUNTRY, AND THOSE ARE YOUTH
THAT WE COULD BE EMPOWERING TO
BE CONTRIBUTING TO THE ECONOMY,
BUT IF WE'RE NOT PROVIDING THEM
THE SAME SUPPORTS WE'RE
PROVIDING TO YOUTH IN MAJOR
CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES, WE'RE
ESSENTIALLY SETTING THOSE YOUTH
UP TO FAIL.

Nam says YOU WANTED TO ADD
SOMETHING?

Sue says YEAH.
AT PATHWAYS, WE DO HAVE -- A
NUMBER OF OUR PROGRAMS ACROSS
THE COUNTRY SERVE INDIGENOUS
STUDENTS AS WELL.
AND WHAT WE HEAR FROM THEM ARE
THE THINGS THAT COTY JUST TALKED
ABOUT, IS INDIGENOUS STUDENTS
ALSO WOULD LIKE THE
OPPORTUNITIES AND THE CHOICES
THAT EVERYBODY ACROSS CANADA
HAS.
IT IS PART OF THEIR RIGHT,
WHETHER THEY'RE FIRST NATIONS,
METIS, OR INUIT.
AND THEY ARE THE FASTEST GROWING
SEGMENT, AND SO TO YOUR QUESTION
AROUND VALUE OR HOW ARE WE GOING
TO AFFORD EDUCATION LONG TERM,
WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO.
IF WE WANT CANADA TO BE A
PROSPEROUS NATION, WE NEED TO
ENABLE ALL OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE
TO BE SUCCESSFUL, AND IT DOESN'T
MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHERE YOU
LIVE, YOU SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO
THE OPPORTUNITY OF EDUCATION,
THE OPPORTUNITY OF LEARNING.
AND I WOULD ADD EXPERIENTIAL
LEARNING TO THAT AS WELL BECAUSE
WE'VE BEEN TALKING QUITE A BIT
ABOUT THE FORMAL EDUCATION
SYSTEM, BUT THERE IS ANOTHER
WHOLE ELEMENT -- AND, JIM,
YOU'RE NODDING YOUR HEAD --
AROUND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND
THAT STARTS IN THE YOUNGEST
YEARS, GOING INTO THE HIGH
SCHOOL YEARS, AND THAT'S WHAT
SHAPES, YOU KNOW, YOUR FUTURE
IDEAS OF WHAT YOU CAN
ACCOMPLISH, AND THEN HAVING THAT
OPPORTUNITY AFTER HIGH SCHOOL TO
CONTINUE TO BUILD ON YOUR
EXPERIENCES, COUPLED WITH A
FORMAL EDUCATION, IS SO
IMPORTANT.
AND IF WE DON'T SUPPORT ALL OF
OUR STUDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY,
REGARDLESS OF WHO THEY ARE OR
WHERE THEY LIVE, I THINK WE'RE
DOING ALL OF US A DISSERVICE --

Nam says FOR THE FUTURE OF
CANADA.

Sue says EXACTLY.

Nam says WE ONLY HAVE A FEW
MINUTES LEFT BUT, FIONA, BASED
ON WHAT RESEARCH SHOWS, HOW
EARLY SHOULD INTERVENTION BEGIN
TO CHANGE THE PATH OF HIGH-RISK
STUDENTS?

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Early intervention.”

Fiona says THERE IS A LOT OF DEBATE
ABOUT THAT BUT I THINK AS EARLY
AS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE SEE IS
LITERACY RATES START TAKING HOLD
IN GRADE 3, RIGHT?
AS EARLY AS GRADE 3, YOU START
TO SEE A GAP IN LITERACY RATES
BETWEEN LOW INCOME AND HIGH
INCOME YOUTH, RIGHT?
THE LITERACY RATES HAVE A
LONG-TERM IMPACT ON YOUR ABILITY
TO ACADEMICALLY ACHIEVE AND GET
INTO POSTSECONDARY.
SO THAT EARLY.
WHEN WE COUNT ALL STUDENTS FROM
A VERY EARLY AGE THAT THEY HAVE
A CHOICE AND THEY HAVE
EDUCATIONAL PATHWAY, ANYTHING IS
POSSIBLE AND WE SUPPORT THEM IN
GETTING THERE, THAT'S WHAT WE
SHOULD BE DOING.

Nam says I WANT TO ASK YOU
ABOUT THIS PROGRAM IN
INDIANAPOLIS THAT AIMS TO GIVE
ALL STUDENTS ACCESS TO EDUCATION
BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT?

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Best practices.”

Fiona says THIS PROGRAM IS ACTUALLY
REALLY GOOD.
IT'S VERY, VERY SIMPLE.
WHAT IT SAYS IS, IF YOU ARE IN
THE PROGRAM, WE GUARANTEE YOU
FREE TUITION TO ANY INSTITUTION
IN INDIANAPOLIS.

Nam says SO UNIVERSITY,
COLLEGE, WHATEVER --

Fiona says ANYWHERE YOU WANT TO GO.
FULL TUITION.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS STAY IN A
PROGRAM AND GRADUATE FROM THE
PROGRAM, AND THERE ARE VERY HIGH
EXPECTATIONS.
YOU HAVE TO GET A HIGH GPA TO
GRADUATE FROM THE PROGRAM.
BUT THEY ALSO GIVE YOU ALL THE
SUPPORTS, THE MENTORING, WHICH
IS EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT,
THE PEER MENTORING, ACADEMIC
MENTORING, ACADEMIC TUTORING,
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, TO
BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY ROUND OUT
YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND YOUR
ASPIRATIONS, AND THEY BRING IN
PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT AS WELL,
WHICH IS REALLY, REALLY
IMPORTANT, AS SUE KNOWS.
THEY INVOLVE THE PARENTS IN THE
PROGRAM.
AND STUDENTS DO REALLY WELL WHEN
THEY GRADUATE FROM THIS PROGRAM
AND GO ON TO POSTSECONDARY,
RIGHT?

Nam says COULD YOU SEE
SOMETHING LIKE THAT DONE IN
ONTARIO?
JIM?

Jim says WELL, I
THINK WE COULD, CERTAINLY.
I THINK IT'S VERY INNOVATIVE
PRACTICE.
I THINK WE'RE HEADING IN THAT
DIRECTION.
I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, WE TALK
ABOUT, PARTICULARLY FOR, AGAIN,
FAMILIES THAT ARE IMPACTED BY
POVERTY, WE TALK ABOUT, YOU
KNOW, HOUSING SECURITY, FOOD
SECURITY, HEALTH SECURITY,
INCOME SECURITY, AND I THINK
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOW IS
REALLY EDUCATION SECURITY AND
MAKING SURE THAT THOSE
INDIVIDUALS -- PARENTS AND
CHILDREN -- HAVE CLEAR PATHWAYS
FORWARD FOR THEMSELVES IN TERMS
OF -- NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF
LEARNING AND ACQUIRING THE
SKILLS, BUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT
THE OUTCOMES WILL BE IN TERMS OF
EMPLOYMENT AND CAREER PATHWAYS.

Nam says I'D LIKE TO ASK YOU
THE LAST QUESTION.
IF YOU WERE TO CREATE A
THREE-POINT PLAN FOR ADDRESSING
THE BIGGEST ACCESS BARRIERS -- A
BIG QUESTION -- TO POSTSECONDARY
EDUCATION, WHAT WOULD IT INCLUDE
AND WHY?

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. The way forward.”

Fiona says IT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION.
I THINK IT WOULD INCLUDE, YOU
KNOW, A LOT MORE CONTINUITY
BETWEEN THE K TO 12 AND THE
POSTSECONDARY SYSTEM.
I THINK THE TWO SYSTEMS DON'T
TALK TO EACH OTHER AS WELL AS
THEY SHOULD.
THE K TO 12 SYSTEM TENDS TO TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOU UNTIL YOU
ARE GRADUATED FROM K TO 12, AND
THEN TWO SHORT MONTHS LATER, YOU
ENTER -- OR SOMETIMES, FOR SOME
PEOPLE -- YOU ENTER INTO A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SYSTEM
WHICH HAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
RULES AND COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
ENVIRONMENT, AND SO SOME MORE
CONTINUITY BETWEEN THOSE TWO I
THINK WOULD BE FANTASTIC.
I THINK, AGAIN, STARTING REALLY
EARLY WITH THE EDUCATIONAL
PATHWAY, BUT IN A WAY THAT
ACTUALLY IS RESPONSIVE TO HOW
STUDENTS WANT TO LEARN AND
DOESN'T REQUIRE, FOR INSTANCE,
STUDENTS TO MAKE DECISIONS IN
GRADE 8 ABOUT WHERE THEY'RE
GOING TO BE IN SIX YEARS, RIGHT?
I THINK THAT NOT TO GO SORT OF
TOO FAR DOWN THE STREAMING PATH,
BUT THERE IS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT
OF EVIDENCE THAT MAKING THOSE
DECISIONS IN GRADE 9 ACTUALLY
DISADVANTAGES PEOPLE WHO ARE
ALREADY EXPERIENCING SYSTEMIC
BIAS.
AND THEN I THINK THIRDLY, YOU
KNOW, A LOT MORE SUPPORT FOR
ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS.
I THINK WE HAVE THIS IDEA THAT,
YOU KNOW, SORT OF THE SUCCESSFUL
PATHWAY IS RIGHT OUT OF HIGH
SCHOOL INTO POSTSECONDARY,
THROUGH POSTSECONDARY FULL TIME,
AND THEN INTO THE LABOUR MARKET.
AND THAT IS JUST -- THAT'S A
VERY SORT OF TRADITIONAL SORT OF
OLD-FASHIONED WAY OF THINKING
ABOUT THE EDUCATIONAL PIPELINE,
AND IT JUST DOESN'T SUIT A LOT
OF PEOPLE'S NEEDS.
AND SO TO BE ABLE TO SAY, YOU
HAVE A DIFFERENT PATHWAY THAN
YOU DO, THAN YOU DO, THAN I DO,
THAN YOU DO, AND THAT'S
COMPLETELY FINE BECAUSE WE HAVE
TO BE RESPONSIVE TO WHAT YOU
NEED AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN YOUR
LIFE, AND THE MOHAWK PROGRAM IS
A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT.
MORE OF THAT, I WOULD SAY, AND
NOT TREATING THOSE ALTERNATIVE
PATHWAYS LIKE THEY'RE MARGINAL.

Nam says THANK YOU ALL FOR
MAKING THE TIME TO COME TO TVO.
YOU GAVE US A LOT TO THINK
ABOUT, JIM, FIONA, SUE, COTY, WE
APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.

They all say THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The caption changes to “Accessing post-secondary education. Producer: Patricia Kozicka. @TrishKozicka.”


Watch: Improving Access to Post-Secondary Education