Province Intervenes in Ag College Closure, Provides $2M for 2014 Academic Year
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
One more year.
That’s the news that the Kemptville College agricultural community received from the province today.
The Ontario government pledged $2 million to the University of Guelph to continue to offer agricultural programing at the college for the 2014 academic year.
Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Grant Crack, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food and MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, made the announcement today at the Kemptvillge Campus.
In March the University of Guelph said that it would close its Kemptville and Alfred agricultural campuses in 2015 citing budgetary restraints. Both colleges are located in Eastern Ontario.
Following the university’s decision to close the campuses, a number of people spoke out about how the closure would have a negative impact on the province’s farming community.
Member of Provincial Parliament Steve Clark, whose riding is home to Kemptville College, asked Premier Kathleen Wynne for a two-year moratorium on the closures to allow an intake of new students. Clark has long advocated for a community-based solution for the college’s future.
While the provincial government choose not to go the moratorium route, it has bought the agricultural community some time to put in place a solution for the future, but no details on a framework going forward was outlined in the release.
“Our government understands and appreciates the importance of students in eastern Ontario having access to high quality agricultural programs and services,” Brad Duguid, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities said in a release. Duguid adds that he plans to work with community stakeholders to find a long-term solution for the college.
Funds are earmarked for the following programs:
- Agricultural equipment technician
- Heavy duty equipment technician
- Truck and coach technician
- Horticultural technician
- Dairy herdsperson
Given the nature of the announcement, only one year programs are included in the package. The two year agriculture diploma program was not salvaged. However, students already enrolled in the campus’s various associate diploma programs will be able to complete their programs before the university ceases control over the college.