Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

&Eacute ;foreign students: Ontario tightens the screws on private colleges

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Jill Dunlop is Ontario's Minister of Colleges and Universities. (Archives)

  • Cédric Lizotte (View profile)Cédric Lizotte

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Ontario imposes moratorium on new partnerships between public and private colleges along with a series of other changes aimed at protecting students and improving “educational integrity post-secondary education in Ontario.”

These changes, announced Friday, are in response to challenges arising from the recent increase in the number of students coming to Canada, between others, according to Minister Jill Dunlop.

The federal government announced Monday that a cap on the number of foreign students coming to the country will be imposed for the next two years.

The province announced several changes. It plans to implement an in-depth evaluation of programs offered by post-secondary institutions with a large number of foreign students and establish a moratorium on new partnerships between public colleges and the private sector, in particular. Measures for student accommodation are also planned.

These changes were announced in a press release published Friday in which Minister Dunlop denounces predatory practices by foreign actors.

Loading in progress300,000 patients from west Montreal worried about the fate of a private health group

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However, the province's New Democratic Party (NDP) asserts that these problems stem from a lack of public funding for educational establishments and calls on Doug Ford's party to rectify the situation. The Ontario Union of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) agrees.

Ms. Dunlop, who is Ontario's minister of colleges and universities, says these new measures are intended to protect some international students. She specifies that they face predatory practices from dubious recruiters, misinformation regarding citizenship and permanent residence, false promises of guaranteed employment and inadequate accommodation for students.

The release continues: The Ontario government will also work with its sector partners and the federal government to determine how to further crack down on questionable recruiters who take advantage of international students and make false claims regarding employment and citizenship.

The press release does not specify who it is.

In its press release, the Ford government says the new measures are being taken to protect the integrity of post-secondary education and promote employment in essential sectors like health care and skilled trades.

It is added that the ministry will aim to improve the response rate to surveys on student results, in order to ensure that students obtain optimal academic results.< /p>

In addition, the ministry wants to ensure that the programs offered meet the needs of the labor market so that students can build a life in Ontario once they have completed their studies.

It is specified that a moratorium on new partnerships between public colleges and the private sector will be put in place.

However, according to Jamie West, provincial NDP MP, it was the Conservatives who lifted the moratorium on public-private colleges in 2019. Today, they are abdicating their responsibilities towards public colleges and universities instead of help them, forcing students and the institutions themselves into an uncertain future.

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Jamie West is the Member of Parliament for Sudbury and the Opposition Critic on Labor, Training and Skills Development. (Archives)

Mr. West demands increased funding for post-secondary education in the province.

It is abundantly clear that this government would rather see post-secondary institutions close their doors than provide the investments necessary to keep them afloat. […] Public colleges and universities are withering, paving the way for a predatory, for-profit private education system that only harms students.

In a press release, published Friday, OCUFA said it agreed with Mr. West's point of view.

Universities need more government funding to provide the support that international – and homegrown – students need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. The ministry has not provided tools to achieve this with these proposals, according to Nigmendra Narain, president of OCUFA, who is quoted in the press release.

During the announcement of the imposition of a cap, Canada's Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, emphasized that the rapid increase in the number of international students in Canada has also put pressure on housing, health care and other services. On Friday, the Ontario government says it will require all colleges and universities to ensure there are housing options for new international students.

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