Three post-secondary institutions have formed a partnership to help improve western P.E.I.’s persistence rate.
The persistence rate refers to the number of students who transition from high school to post-secondary institutions. It’s lower in western P.E.I. than it is both regionally and nationally, says Donna Sutton, Holland College’s registrar.
The three institutions in the partnership, Holland College, UPEI and College Acadie I.-P.-E, with financial support from the Province of P.E.I., have established an initiative called P.E.I. Campus West.
It will utilize the Holland College Waterfront Campus to offer a set of post-secondary courses that each of those institutions would accept towards a credential.
“We would honour them in a program they are applicable to,” Sutton stressed.
“What we hope to do is transition a greater number of people in western P.E.I. to post-secondary. That’s really the goal.”
The partnership recently issued a job posting seeking an individual to work with the registrar and recruitment offices of the three institutions as well with high schools and employers to attract students.
The objective is for P.E.I. Campus West to provide five courses during the fall 2015 semester and five during the winter 2016 semester.
The tentative courses for the fall semester are business communications and computer literacy offered by Holland College; sociology and psychology offered by UPEI and accounting offered by College Acadie.
“It’s to try and say, ‘You know what, you’re not sure what you’d like: come and sample a couple of these courses and, regardless of what institution you end up at, we will honour that credit,’” Sutton said of the partnership’s approach.
The province, which expressed interest in such an initiative in last year’s throne speech, fills a financial role, Sutton said.
“It is a role that’s encouraging us to partner where it makes sense,” she said. “It recognizes the uniqueness of the three, but if there are places to partner, I think the desire and the will are there for us to do that.”
With demographics changing and less children in school, and, thus, less students graduating, Sutton said such partnerships make sense. “Our best bet, I think, is to work together and find ways to complement, as opposed to compete.”