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Program Quality, Accountability Improved for Private Career Colleges

Changes to legislation that regulates private career colleges will help ensure programs train students for jobs that are available in Nova Scotia.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan tabled amendments to the Private Career Colleges Regulation Act today, April 23.

“Private career colleges play an important part in training Nova Scotians and we need to make sure students are getting a quality education that will help them land good jobs after graduation,” said Ms.

Regan. “These changes will improve program quality, hold colleges more accountable and speed up administrative processes.”

There are about 45 private career colleges in Nova Scotia that offer more than 250 programs to about 4,000 students every year.

The programs they offer train students to take up many occupations, including truck drivers, massage therapists, information technologists, plumbers, estheticians, paramedics, firefighters and carpenters.

Specific changes to the legislation will:
— remove the annual college registration requirement to reduce unnecessary paperwork and streamline approval of programs already sanctioned by a regulatory or professional body
— exempt certain programs (could possibly include those with very low fees or those that have very short completion times) and give the minister authority to exempt groups of occupations (such as fitness instructors)
— require regular program approvals every five years
— phase-in performance standards to ensure colleges are accountable to students for their investment. This could include factors like employment rates after graduation
— add new enforcement tools (such as compliance orders and administrative sanctions) to help government deal with minor violations of the act and its accompanying regulations. The legislation currently allows for college registrations to be suspended or revoked

Some of these changes will be further defined in regulations. The department also plans to change the regulations to require some colleges to provide audited financial statements. College administrators and operators will be consulted again when the regulations are being developed.

Changes to the Private Career Colleges Regulation Act are expected to take effect in April 2016.

Source: Release

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