British Columbia is banning new post-secondary institutions from applying to enrol Nigerians and other international students for the next two years, as the province roots out “exploitive practices” plaguing the system.
Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson said Monday that the freeze is necessary to correct faults in an international education system that “has not been working as well as it should.”
According to CBC News, Robinson said the province began looking into the system last March and found instances of “poor-quality education, a lack of instructors” and even the “scaring away” of students from lodging formal complaints by certain private institutions.
One student, Robinson said, told her that the woman’s family in India saved money to send her to British Columbia for a “quality education.” Instead, she was placed in online classes upon arrival, the minister said.
“She arrived here being told that there would be in-class instruction, only to discover on her first day of class as she showed up that the entire course would be taught online,” Robinson said. “And she couldn’t understand why she spent all that money for an online program.
“We do need to stop the bad actors from misleading these students, and that’s what we’re here to fix.”
Robinson also announced the province was setting minimum language requirements at private institutions so international students would be “better prepared” before coming to British Columbia.
More details on the language requirement will be released in March, Robinson said, as work is still being done on that front.
Of the 175,000 international post-secondary students from more than 150 countries in B.C., about 54 per cent are enrolled in private institutions.
There are 280 of those private schools in the province, and 80 per cent of them are in the Lower Mainland.
Robinson said the province will step up inspections of the schools to ensure standards are met, adding that many students are being taken advantage of.
“They worry that if they complain, it will risk their student visa, and it will sacrifice all the effort their families have put into making sure they can get a quality education,” she said. “So, they’re less likely to complain.
“As a result of hearing that, we’re going to be … developing a system where we’ll be on site and doing a more proactive evaluation of programs.”
Robinson said the two-year pause gives the province some time to assess the impact of recent changes, such as the federal government’s capping of study permits it approves over the next two years.