Quality assurance mechanisms in the Northwest Territories postsecondary education system vary by type of program. They include:
- legislation (statutes and regulations)
- credit transfer and articulation
- external and internal review
- professional accreditation
- other organizations related to quality assurance
The Aurora College Act establishes the only public community college in the Northwest Territories. Under the Act, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment is responsible for postsecondary education. Aurora College is responsible for delivering adult and postsecondary programs, including the delivery of university-level programs and the granting of certificates, diplomas, and prescribed university degrees. The Minister is responsible for establishing programs and courses and for determining college operational policies.
The Act provides the Minister with the authority to establish a Board of Governors for the college. The board is responsible for recommending priorities for programs and courses and college admission requirements to the Minister.
The Board of Governors is required to submit an annual report to the Minister within three months of the end of the fiscal year. The report must state the activities of the college during the fiscal year and include the auditor's report and the financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applied on a basis consistent with that of the preceding fiscal year. The Minister tables the board's report in the Legislative Assembly.
Aurora College has no affiliations with universities. However, it does have a number of program-specific collaboration and articulation agreements and memoranda of understanding with several universities.
Credit Transfer and Articulation
Aurora College has program-specific collaboration and articulation agreements with several universities whereby diploma credits from a two-year (or, in some cases, three-year) program can be block transferred into a university bachelor's degree program. Additionally, Aurora College has agreements with universities whereby all of a university program can be taken at the college and credited by the university. Program standards are identified in the agreements and maintained through the review process at each institution.
External and Internal Review
Aurora College has policies and procedures for the evaluation of programs and services that are approved by the Board of Governors. Degree, diploma, and certificate programs are internally reviewed following a schedule approved by the Board of Governors. Programs may also undergo external review as deemed necessary by external partners and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Many of Canada's regulated professions have associations that conduct accreditation reviews of college programs pertaining to their professions. In these instances, accreditation teams from the professions review reports provided by the colleges and may conduct on-site visits in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the professions. For example, the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut is responsible for nursing education standards in NWT and for conducting reviews of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Primary Health Care Stream Program at Aurora College.
Apprenticeship training in the Northwest Territories comprises a combination of workplace training and educational class instruction. The Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification Act establishes the Department of Education, Culture and Employment as the public authority responsible for apprenticeship matters. The Act establishes the Apprenticeship, Trade and Occupations Certification Board. The Board's main function is to advise the Minister of Education on matters relating to training and the certification of people in designated trades and occupations. In advising the Minister, the Board draws upon the expertise of local Apprenticeship Advisory Committees appointed by the Department's Supervisor of Apprenticeship, Trade, and Occupations Certification.
The regulations under the Act also provide the government with extensive authority to regulate apprenticeship. These regulations address qualifications for apprenticeship, providing examinations, establishing standards for examinations, and providing for inspection of training. The regulations also provide the Department's Supervisor of Apprenticeship, Trade, and Occupations Certification with the authority to establish the contents of and standards for the in-school portion of apprenticeship training, known as the trade instruction courses and examinations. The supervisor must approve the location of trade instruction courses, the major pieces of equipment used in the instruction, the instructional materials, and the curriculum. The regulation also directly addresses instructor qualifications.
External and Internal Review
The NWT Apprenticeship Program administers all aspects of apprenticeship training within the territory. Apprentices and tradespersons are registered in the program and monitored while gaining experience on the work site. Apprentices attend technical training to fulfill the requirements for certification. Operational reviews are executed through employer satisfaction surveys and board reports. The NWT Apprenticeship Review Board, made up of industry representatives, and government, conducts accreditation reviews for all the trades training at Aurora College.
An Interprovincial Standards "Red Seal" Program promotes and facilitates the standardization of provincial and territorial apprenticeship training, as well as the regular updating of national trades standards in order to reflect the ongoing technological changes taking place in all trades. The Canadian provinces and territories developed the Red Seal program in cooperation with the federal government (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) to standardize trade skill requirements and provide greater employment mobility throughout Canada. A provincial Certificate of Qualification bearing the Red Seal endorsement provides evidence of meeting the interprovincial standard for certification and is recognized throughout Canada. For employers, the Red Seal is an assurance of quality training and certification to nationally recognized standards.
Other Organizations Related to Quality Assurance in Colleges and Apprenticeship
Aurora College is a member of the Colleges and Institutes Canada (ACCC). ACCC does not perform formal quality assurance functions with respect to its members, but it does promote quality programming and the use of high academic standards by conducting research and facilitating broad discussion on quality assurance issues.
The Northwest Territories does not have legislation to register private training institutions. The Minister has a Private Vocational Training Directive and has developed guidelines to ensure compliance by customer institutions, as well as consumer protection. Students have access to a limited amount of private training approved through this Directive and through the Department of Education, Culture and Employment's Student Financial Assistance Program.
Territorial legislation can be directly accessed on the Internet.
Additional Sources of Information
- Department of Education, Culture and Employment
- Public Affairs
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
X1A 2L9 Canada
Tel.: (867) 920-6222
Fax: (867) 873-0155
Web site: http://www.ece.gov.nt.ca/
List of recognized degree-granting and non-degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the Northwest Territories