Potential provincial plan would “monetize” e-learning, centralize control
The Toronto Star recently obtained a document that outlined a potential plan for e-learning in Ontario. It appears to be advice from a consultant.
While the potential plan does not refer to making e-learning mandatory, it does include advice to centralize control over e-learning. The document points out that currently online learning is delivered by a number of school board consortia as well as TVO’s Independent Learning Centre. The document suggests that the province create a “new delivery entity that would be mandated” and “ensure delivery of a centralized online learning system.”
In a suggested timeline, the document outlines how, between 2021 and 2024, the province could implement a shift from board-delivered courses, to courses delivered by a “central entity”. The implication in the document is that this would save millions of dollars, and thus funding to school boards could be reduced. It also suggests that boards would be required to meet targets for numbers of students enrolled in online classes. The target is that the central “entity takes on full scope of responsibilities including arranging for course delivery and communicating outcomes to boards.”
One goal is that by 2024 “80% of students would have taken online learning courses during high school.” The document adds that “this assumes that 20% of students cannot take online learning courses for various reasons.”
The other, more controversial goal is to monetize online learning in Ontario. The document refers to “maximum revenue generation.” The document outlines a way that the central entity could – when fully in place – make online learning courses available to out-of-province and international students for a fee, and for generating revenue by licensing access to the courses.