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Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Is BC starting International School clean up ?

The B.C. government has decertified one of the many high schools in China licensed to offer a British Columbia high school diploma. Is this the start of much stricter oversight by B.C. and other Canadian provincial governments?

Canada is by no means an outlying country in being embroiled in overseas programs of dubious repute. How dubious are we talking? I have seen countless written essays to questions I have administered in such schools to grade 12 students in Canadian high school programs in China whose ability to respond has been limited to a matter of a few sentences. Is that so bad? It is if these are students whose Canadian provincial transcripts invariably showed an English grade in the sixties or even seventies, something that should be inconceivable for a student who can barely write a few lines in English. A proper audit would reveal large numbers of students who cannot be said to be even within twenty per cent of those earning the same grade in the home province.

Why does this everybody loses scenario play out so frequently? Why sully the image of the Province, of Canada, and of the universities and colleges granting admissions? Why allow the welfare of students to suffer? Well, the reason is this is not an entire losing proposition. Institutions receiving the students get a lot of money from them, and it often outweighs the concerns for reputation and rigorous admission. For the students, they gain admission and even scholarship awards which aren’t warranted.

So, how does this all end up? For some students, dropping out after a semester or two in Canada is an obvious option. Many never get out of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, notwithstanding their original Grade 12 mark in a provincial English course which first implied a higher standard of English skills. Of course, plenty of students are attracted to a strategic approach where they take courses that appear to be more conducive to cheating their way through? Is this much of a problem in Canada? Faculty members know best.

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About Dani

Dani has consulted universities, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the field of international education since 1997. He is co-founder of Higher-Edge, the parent of Overseas, Overwhelmed, and a director of the Canadian University Application Centre. He is a former international and human rights lawyer and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Law School.

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