Private College Regulations Need Overhaul

Created 12 September 2007 08:09

BC’s university professors are recommending a substantial overhaul to the way private colleges are regulated in British Columbia. In a submission to the  reviewers of the Private Career Training Institutions Act , the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA/BC) say that last year’s revelation of illegal degree granting by Kingston College has uncovered many weaknesses in the current rules and regulations.

CUFA/BC asserts that the quality of education must be paramount in any system of higher education regulation. It believes this is not always the case under the current system of self-regulation by private institutions.

The organization contends that the variety of types, sizes and mandates of private higher education institutions make self-regulation by the sector practically impossible. CUFA/BC recommends that either the regulatory functions currently carried out by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) once again become the direct responsibility of government, or that the PCTIA Board of Directors be substantially altered to give a majority of positions to people without a vested interest in private institutions.

Among the other recommendations from CUFA/BC:

  • Require language schools to register under the Act
  • Establish an ombudsperson to deal specifically with students at private higher education institutions
  • Conduct audits on at least 10% of private higher education institutions each year to ensure they are following the rules
  • Either abandon the whole idea of accreditation of private institutions or substantially improve it by developing measurable outcomes for programs of study and establish appropriate benchmarks of performance that are made publicly available

CUFA/BC says that it’s only a small number of unscrupulous operators who are making trouble for the industry. However, if the current shortcomings in the rules aren’t dealt with quickly, there will be negative consequences for all private and public higher education institutions in British Columbia.