Toronto – The public deserves to know the details of a recent backroom deal between McDonald’s and Colleges Ontario, the union representing college faculty says.
In a letter to Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews released today, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union called for greater transparency around the arrangement, which would see students granted college credits for courses taken as part of the McDonald’s corporate training program.
“Faculty are concerned about the success of the students who enter colleges through this program,” said RM Kennedy, chair of the union’s College Academic Division. “This new scheme does an end-run around the system we have for recognizing students’ work and life experience. The established Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process is designed to look at which credits a student qualifies for, and which they still need to take, based on their individual situation, so each student is set up to succeed.
“By contrast, this scheme risks setting students up to fail, as faculty have no details on how McDonald’s corporate training has covered the topics students learn in first year, or which knowledge students might be lacking.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas pointed out the long-term danger to the province’s business sector of sacrificing the broad education offered by public colleges for the company-specific training provided by McDonald’s.
“In deals like this we are trading away the skills students need to succeed in the new economy for the tactics to function within a specific company,” said Thomas. “When we do that we fail the next generation of learners, and the business world that will rely on them in the years to come.”
In the letter to Matthews today, Thomas and Kennedy asked for transparency on the deal – which she has already publicly spoken in support of – so that the public knows what has been agreed to in order to make the deal happen.
“The public has the right to know what promises have been made, and what money has changed hands,” they wrote. “These questions, and more, will remain unanswered until the full deal is released.”
For more information: Craig Ashbourne, A/Communications Officer, OPSEU, 226-821-1725