Undesirable Risks resulting from Canadian Colleges Partnership- Ontario Report
In a provincial government report released recently, the Globe and Mail discovered that public and private colleges Canada partnerships to pose considerable risks to not only students interest but the province and the quality of education as well.
This report, released under the freedom of information legislation has enormous direct and indirect unimaginable consequences for the future of the province education standards. Quite possibly, this partnership program could have also breached the primary purpose and intent of Canada’s federal immigration strategy and policy directives.
Commissioned by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), this report ultimately imposed a moratorium on one of the Canadian colleges partnership programs.
“We are definitely complying with the directive, but at the same time, we are trying to make sure that people understand the story,” said Bill Best, the president of Cambrian College in Sudbury, which has a partnership with Hanson Canada.
Cambrian is one of the many Ontario colleges which have partnered with private colleges to deliver courses to international students who receive Cambrian diplomas by studying at Hanson campuses across Canada.
Majority of the student fees in this partnership model are received by the private colleges and a specified percentage generally in the range of 10-15% is passed on to the public colleges. In 2015 to 2016, almost $30.5 million more in revenue was in the projections as per the report attributed to an increase of approximately 5000 international students.
So, what are the potential risks in this situation?
Though the situation has many benefits, it comes with its shares of concerns and risks as well.
Some concerns include the inability to monitor the academic standards of the education imparted at the campuses, no way to track the quality of student experience and associated availability and delivery of support services.
The provincial government also maintained that the very foundation of the private-public partnership undermines the federal government’s Canada immigration policies on international student’s recruitment.
Private colleges graduates are not awarded work authorization based on their education which is not the case for public sector college graduates. Canadian postsecondary college graduates receive Post Graduate work permit allowing them to be a part of the Canadian society earlier and settle down faster.
As per the current standing, international students enrolling till September 2019 can complete their programs as per partnerships in effect.
Some alternative approaches and models are also under consideration.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot program, is one such model under consideration which allows permanent residency upon graduation to international students who receive a remote employer job offer.
Sustainability and funding issues are also likely to come up in coming decades with a decline in the number of college-aged individuals in Ontario. As per Colleges Ontario, currently, a college receives $2000 less than a university for every student.
The existing Canadian colleges partnership look poised to continue as of now, but there are challenges in store.