Undercover journalist reveals the extent of deception some private colleges practice.
Toronto (Sept 18, 2009) - While students enrolled at public colleges in personal support worker programs will spend a year learning to empty catheters, insert suppositories and manoeuvre mechanical lifts, in a matter of weeks at a private career college in North York a student will learn how to fake a resume, fabricate professional references and lie their way through a job interview.
For $480 and a few hours spent watching instructional DVDs, a person could become eligible to work with society's most vulnerable in hospitals, nursing lodges, community care centres and private homes.
Ontario's ombudsman, André Marin, recently criticized the province for failing to shut down rogue private career colleges. He warned that potentially thousands of these schools exist, churning out incompetent graduates in an environment where employers often trust a college is a college.
The province practices a soft handed approach in bringing these colleges in line. For example, the Toronto Star recently exposed a North York private college, the Ontario Academy of Science and Technology, as unlicensed and substandard education. However, this private college is still operating and has new students, in spite of the province knowing that the college is illegal.
According to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the sole instructor of the private college has no business teaching a classroom of paying students, some of whom have coughed up the full $2,500 tuition.
The school is a haven for immigrant women. In fact, many of the students here came to Canada as live-in caregivers. They see the fast-growing field of personal support work as a step up – an opportunity to improve life for themselves and their families abroad.
Where legitimate programs require more than 700 hours of in-class and clinical training, the academy lets students come and go as their schedules permit. Two-hour lectures on Sundays are the only mandatory component.
Otherwise, the program consists of watching 12 instructional DVDs. Produced during the early 1990s by a U.S. company, they feature the AIDS epidemic front and centre. Each student also receives a binder with photocopied chapters that seem to correspond to the DVDs, though no publisher is credited.
This is just one more example that proves post secondary training can not be left to the private sector.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE