Manitoba PSE to be reviewed by Ontario prof

The Manitoba NDP government of Gary Doer announced the creation of the “Commission on Tuition Fees and Accessibility to Post Secondary Education in Manitoba” yesterday.

The commission consists of one person, Dr. Benjamin Levin, of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Levin is uniquely qualified for the position; not only is he a recognized academic in the field of higher education with a focus on poverty issues, Levin has experience in the civil service and university administration.

He served as dean of Continuing Education (now Extended Education) at the University of Manitoba prior to his appointment in 1999 as Manitoba’s deputy minister of the department of education, training and youth and department of advanced education.

As DM, he was responsible for the department overseeing higher education funding in the province. He left this position in 2002 and returned to the faculty of the University of Manitoba.

In 2005, he took up the position of deputy minister in overseeing Ontario’s ministry of educationthe largest in the country. Ontario has a separate ministry that oversees higher education, but the ministry of education and ministry of training, colleges, and universities collaborate often and are considered “sister ministries” due to their close relationship. Levin would have been intimately aware of the recommendations of the Rae Review.

He returned to full-time academia in 2007 as the Canada Research Chair in Educational Leadership at OISE.

As commissioner, Levin will review Manitoba’s current tuition structure compared to other jurisdictions to recommend a framework for the province. He’ll also look at student financial aid structures to create a recommendation on this front.

The announcement of the commission coincides with the launch of the commission’s website (itself complete with nice stock photography), on which the public is invited to submit their opinions on the future of tuition and student aid in Manitoba.

Levin will report back to the Doer government by March 2009.