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Mohawk College faces backlash for shuttering one-of-a-kind Accessible Media Production program – CBC.ca

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Mohawk College is facing criticism over its move to shutter Accessible Media Production — its one-of-a-kind program geared toward making Canada more accessible to people with disabilities.

The eight-month, online, post-graduation certificate program teaches students how to create accessible content, like captions and described video, and delves into disability legislation and inclusive writing. It also includes a capstone project.

While the Hamilton-based college says the program will be replaced by micro-credentials and no content will be lost, the program’s creator, who is also the lead on developing the micro-credentials, is skeptical.

The full-time college program is the only of its kind in Canada, and critics say the school’s decision will have a huge impact.

“Accessibility and disability must be a higher priority for the college than meeting enrolment targets and the suspension of this program cannot simply be viewed through the lens of ‘business decision,’ but rather, as a decision impacting disability human rights and Disability Justice goals,” reads an open letter to the college from concerned students and community members.

Low enrolment led to ending full-time program, Mohawk says

Mohawk College’s chief operating officer, Paul Armstrong, told CBC Hamilton the full-time program won’t be reinstated any time soon.

He said he disagrees with the idea there will be an impact on the industry by ending the full-time program.

Armstrong said the school is moving away from the full-time program because of enrolment numbers.

Since fall 2017, he said, there have been just 41 graduates — 30 from the full-time post-graduate program and 11 through part-time studies.

“Enrolment in this delivery format has been a challenge right since we started,” he said.

Armstrong said that since 2017, the college has spent $85,000 to $100,000 a year to keep the program running. 

It’s such a micro concept … it’s by no means the same program at all … clearly he doesn’t understand what we do.– Jennifer Curry Jahnke, Mohawk program’s creator and co-ordinator

Some critics have pointed out the employment rate for graduates of the program is 91 per cent and say the problem is in the school’s marketing efforts.

Armstrong said the program was nearly suspended in 2020 for the same reason and the school has tried advertising, but enrolment levels haven’t changed.

“It’s not from lack of effort on anyone’s part to try and recruit students,” he said.

“A 91 per cent employment rate is fantastic, but that, in some years, is based on four graduates.”

COO ‘doesn’t understand what we do’ 

Jennifer Curry Jahnke, the program’s creator and co-ordinator, and Sandi Gauder, an instructor in the program, said in separate interviews the school has done a poor job of promoting the program.

Both of them also sit on the program advisory committee and said despite Mohawk College saying it will work with the committee, people were only told about the decision once it was official.

Armstrong said the first of the micro-credentials replacing the full-time program, which are “smaller module, bite-sized pieces,” will be launched this fall.

He said the move to micro-credentials will save the school money and also offer students more freedom as to when they learn without losing any content from the full-time program.

“We’re still in the process of building them but there’s no reason to think we’d lose anything at the end of the day from a curriculum perspective,” he said.

A picture of Jennifer Curry Jahnke in a classroom.
Jennifer Curry Jahnke, the program’s creator and co-ordinator, says she doesn’t believe micro-credentials will make up for losing the full-time program. (Mohawk College)

Jahnke, who is leading the effort on micro-credentials, said she was tasked with creating 10 micro-credentials and said she’s “nowhere near done.”

She is also skeptical the school will fit all the same content into micro-credentials, since the ones she’s working on only represent two out of the 11 courses in the program.

“It’s such a micro concept … it’s by no means the same program at all … clearly he doesn’t understand what we do,” she said after hearing Armstrong’s comments.

“It doesn’t add any of the work-integrated working or the applied research or anything happening on social media.”

Concerns about impact on disability community

Gauder said that, as an employer in the industry (she’s the co-owner of CMSWebSolutions), she knows the impact replacing the full-time program would have.

“There is a dearth of qualified individuals to get the work done. There is no lack of interest from employers, we can’t graduate enough students to fill the need,” she said.

An open letter from concerned students and community members echoed concerns.

“It cannot be overstated how devastating this decision is to the accessibility industry, persons with disabilities who continue to be excluded from digital environments, and the province as a whole as we move toward an increasingly accessible Ontario,” read the letter.

Ryan Joslin, who graduated from the program in 2021, said he thinks the micro-credentials could work, but based on what he learned, it should remain a full-time program.

“There’s just a lot of information that’s covered … it covers the whole gamut of accessibility,” he said.

“The field is growing immensely and it’s expanding to the point where there’s always job opportunities and people needed with this specialty … without this type of program being there for people to take, it’s really going to leave the employers without many options to hire people.”

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S.Korean leader's informal media events are a break with tradition – SaltWire Halifax powered by The Chronicle Herald

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By Soo-hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean leader Yoon Suk-yeol has departed from years of tradition by holding informal daily media events to field questions on topics ranging from inflation and ties with neighbouring North Korea to the first lady and even boyband BTS.

Such wide-ranging access to the president was previously unheard of. It stems from Yoon’s decision to move his office out of the official Blue House, whose previous occupants largely steered clear of such interactions over more than seven decades.

“It’s apparently helping Yoon dispel worries about his lack of political experience and giving him a sense of where public opinion is at,” said Eom Kyeong-young, a political commentator based in the capital, Seoul.

Yoon, a former prosecutor-general, entered politics just a year ago, before winning the presidency in March by a margin of just 0.7%, the narrowest in South Korea’s history.

Upon his inauguration in May, Yoon moved the presidential office to the compound of South Korea’s defence ministry, describing the official residence as the symbol of an “imperial presidency”, and vowing not to “hide behind” his aides.

His liberal predecessor, Moon Jae-in, had rarely held news conferences, and almost always filtered his communication with the media, and the public, through layers of secretaries.

Analysts see Yoon’s daily freewheeling sessions as part of a broader communications strategy that lets him drive policy initiatives and present himself as a confident, approachable leader.

The campaign has also allayed public suspicions about the newcomer to politics, they say.

Polls show the new strategy helping to win support and much-needed political capital for Yoon in his effort to hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a parliament dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Although Yoon’s approval rating dipped to 47.6% in a recent survey, slightly lower than the disapproval figure of 47.9%, another June poll showed communication was the reason most frequently cited by those who favoured him.

“The sweeping victory of Yoon’s conservative party in June local elections shows the public is not so much against the new administration,” said Eom.

Incumbents from Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) defeated challengers for the posts of mayor in the two biggest cities of Seoul and the port city of Busan in that contest, while its candidates won five of seven parliamentary seats.

Eom attributed Yoon’s low approval rating from the beginning of his term to inflation risks that threaten to undermine an economic recovery and his lack of a support base as a new politician.

But some critics say Yoon’s sessions raise the chances that he could make mistakes.

“He could make one mistake a day,” Yun Kun-young of the opposition party wrote on Facebook last week, saying the new practice could be “the biggest risk factor” for the government.

The presidential office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yoon has already faced criticism for controversial remarks made during the morning briefings, such as one in defence of his nominee for education minister, who has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol years ago.

But the daily meetings and public reaction would ultimately help the government to shape policy better, said Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University in Seoul.

“It might be burdensome for his aides for now, but will be an advantage in the long term,” Shin said. “A slip of the tongue cannot be a bigger problem than a policy failure.”

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Angolan ex-leader dos Santos in intensive care: Portuguese media – Al Jazeera English

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Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019. He was president of Angola between 1979 and 2017.

Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for nearly four decades, is in intensive care at a clinic in Barcelona, Portuguese news agency Lusa has reported, citing a source close to him.

Dos Santos, 79, has been receiving medical treatment since 2019, but his health deteriorated and he was admitted to an intensive care unit, Lusa reported, without saying when it happened.

After a 38-year stint in office that made him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, dos Santos stepped down in 2017. His rule was marked by a brutal civil war lasting nearly three decades against the United States-backed UNITA rebels – which he won in 2002 – and a subsequent oil-fuelled boom that enriched elites but did little to alleviate widespread poverty.

He was replaced by Joao Lourenco, who despite being from dos Santos’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), swiftly moved to investigate the allegations of multibillion-dollar corruption during the latter’s stint, targeting the former leader’s children.

The assets of his daughter Isabel dos Santos, often feted as Africa’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $3.5bn as of 2013, have also been frozen by the Angolan government.

Last year, the elder dos Santos returned home for the first time since he went into exile in Barcelona in April 2019.

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Media Release – June 24, 2022 – Guelph Police – guelphpolice.ca

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Males arrested, drugs and stolen property seized

A large quantity of suspected stolen property and drugs were seized following the arrests Thursday of three Guelph males.

The males were arrested as a result of an ongoing investigation by members of the Guelph Police Service Break Enter Auto Theft (BEAT) Unit. Two of the males were arrested following a vehicle stop, during which police seized quantities of crack cocaine, methamphetamines and hydromorphone, as well as drug packaging and digital scales. Also located in the vehicle was suspected stolen property including power tools and gym equipment and break-in tools including pry bars.

A search of the males’ Waterloo Avenue residence revealed more suspected stolen property including high-end bicycles and several toolboxes or bags full of tools.

Three Guelph males — aged 33, 35 and 55 – face charges including possession for the purpose of trafficking, break and enter, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possessing break and enter tools and possessing identity documents. All three were held for bail hearings Friday.

recovered stolen property

Cash stolen during business break-in

The Guelph Police Service is investigating after cash was stolen from the office of a local business early Friday.

Approximately 3:20 a.m. police were called to a business on Woolwich Street near Speedvale Avenue West. The owner was reporting a break-in two hours earlier.

Video surveillance showed a male arriving at the business approximately 1:15 a.m. and using a tool to pry open a door. He attended an office where he pried open a second door and emptied the safe. He was described as wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, blue jeans, white and grey shoes, black gloves and a black backpack.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Constable Mallory Woeller at 519-824-1212, ext. 7462, email her at mwoeller@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Toronto-area males arrested on drug charges

Three Toronto-area males, including one youth, were arrested on drug charges Thursday in Guelph.

Approximately 2:15 p.m., a Guelph Police Service officer observed a silver BMW cutting off other vehicles in the area of Wellington Street West and Wyndham Street South. A traffic stop was conducted and officers could detect a strong smell of cannabis coming from within the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle uncovered an open package of cannabis in the glovebox and a grinder contaminated with cannabis residue in the cupholder, as well as 85 Percocet tablets in the console and more than $1,700 cash inside a lunch bag.

A 22-year-old Toronto male, a 22-year-old Mississauga male and a 17-year-old Mississauga male are all charged with possessing controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking. They were all released with August court dates. The BMW, which had been rented through a car-sharing app, was towed by police.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 256

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