Advanced education minister says action coming on MacKinnon report

EDMONTON – Alberta’s advanced education minister says he hopes to soon announce action on a report that characterizes the province’s post-secondary system as rudderless and rife with duplication and overlap.

Demetrios Nicolaides, in the meantime, is being non-committal on how he will respond to the report’s recommendation to look at consolidating the 26 institutions.

Nicolaides says no one wants to shut down schools but his office is still determining next steps based on the report.

The report on provincial spending, from a panel chaired by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon, was released earlier this month and Premier Jason Kenney has said it will guide the upcoming budget and other long-term policy decisions.

The report is highly critical of Alberta’s post-secondary system, saying it is overly dependent on government grants, lacks policy direction tied to provincial goals and has extensive overlap along with poor completion rates in some schools.

Nicolaides made the comments as he announced a new 19-member task force that will focus on boosting apprenticeship enrolment, along with raising the profile and value of trade skills.