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Purpose of the Ministry

The Ministry of Advanced Education provides leadership and direction, establishes policy, and provides funding to the post-secondary system and to the research and technology sector. The Ministry also provides financial assistance to students. The public benefits of post-secondary education are far-reaching and include: providing people, communities and employers with needed knowledge, skills and training, as well as enabling citizens to participate fully in our society.

The Ministry of Advanced Education shares with the Ministry of Education primary responsibility for Government’s first Great Goal: “Make British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent.” The Ministry is also a key partner with the Ministry of Economic Development on the fifth Great Goal: “Create more jobs per capita than anywhere else in Canada” through providing well-educated and skilled labour, and targeting areas of skills shortages.

The majority of public services for which the Ministry is responsible are delivered by institutions and organizations within the public post-secondary system and the research and technology sector. The institutions, like those in other provinces, have a significant and appropriate degree of autonomy from government. This allows them the necessary independence to determine how to deliver programs and courses effectively, provide education and training to students, undertake research and serve the educational needs of their communities. Various mechanisms, such as legislation, funding agreements and reporting requirements, ensure accountability for public funds.

British Columbia also has a diverse private post-secondary sector that offers a range of education and training programs including degrees, career training and English as a Second Language. Private degree granting and career training institutions are subject to legislative and regulatory frameworks.

The Ministry’s expanded mandate for research and technology includes oversight of: funding to the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund and contributions to research organizations such as Genome British Columbia; internship funding for graduate students; the Premier’s Technology Council and British Columbia Innovation Council;1 and a leadership role in ensuring all research investments across government align with the objectives of the BC Research and Innovation Strategy.

The Ministry provides direct service to the public through administration of StudentAid BC, which provides loans and grants to eligible post-secondary students for education and living costs. The Ministry is also responsible for ensuring the loans it provides are repaid by students once their studies are completed and debt management tools are available to former student borrowers experiencing hardship in repayment.

1  As a Crown agency, the British Columbia Innovation Council conducts its affairs at arms length from Government and publishes its own service plans and annual reports, separate from those of the Ministry. The Ministry is also responsible for the Knowledge Network which was recently established as a Crown agency.
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