News for International Educators Across Canada
August 2020
Thank you to everyone in international education

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone in the international education sector. Program managers have been working hard to move courses online, organizations like Languages Canada are lobbying the government for support and school staff are getting ready for reopening. It's been a lot of work - and I hope you have had a chance for a break this summer.

One of the initiatives we have been working on is reaching out to other international education service providers to see if there are ways we can partner. As a result, we have recently agreed to collaborate with Thomas Christensen of Vital English to let our readers know about the services he provides. Please see below for information on how his math assessment is helping programs to place incoming K-12 students.

You're invited to attend the third webinar in our Risk Management series. This one is on Emergency Planning. Are you prepared if there is a COVID outbreak at your site? See below for details. 

Do you have a homestay program? If so, we would greatly appreciate it if you could complete our survey about reopening plans. Here's the link.

As always, please get in touch if you have any questions. Stay safe!

Webinar next week: Emergency Planning

It's vital to properly prepare and plan during the pandemic. How will you protect everyone using your classrooms, dormitories and homestays? You will need to provide sufficient staffing to ensure that everyone is following protocols, including hand washing. You must clean and sanitize the facility and monitor physical distancing. You may need to devote additional resources to cleaning and the prevention of infection. What will you do if someone tests positive for COVID-19? When a crisis hits, you will not have time to make decisions on the fly - you will need an already well-prepared and detailed plan that you can put into action immediately. This webinar will enable you to prepare your own comprehensive emergency plan.

Cost is just $49 plus tax. 

Date: Tuesday, August 18 at 12:30 pm Eastern (9:30 am Pacific)

Programs shift online as students
may not be able to come to Canada
In a normal year, thousands of international students would be arriving in the next couple of weeks to start fall classes. Of course, 2020 is anything but normal. All three sectors - K-12, post-secondary and language programs - are facing big challenges during the pandemic.

The language sector is perhaps the hardest hit. St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, would normally be running ESL classes for 60 to 70 students. In-person classes have been suspended for the fall and the school has created an online English-language program to allow students to study from their home countries. 

Ining Chao, associate dean of St. Lawrence, says the online program is going well, even though the enrollment was small this summer and classes must be scheduled at 7 pm local time to meet the needs of learners in both Canada and overseas. Chao says feedback has been very positive. "The balance between live sessions and self-study really boosts their language learning." 

Languages Canada, the sector's association, says that 75 percent of its member schools may permanently close by the end of the year without some form of assistance. It has put together a Study Safe Corridor plan to ensure safe student departure, safe travel and arrival and safe study at member schools. It hopes to bring in 40,000 students between now and March 2021.

Language programs are worried that the downturn will extend into next year. "I don't think we have a clear picture of what will happen in 2021, but we are trying to be innovative and responsive to stay ahead," says Chao.

In K-12, most provinces are reopening their schools in September. Domestic students will be back in class but the number of international students will be down dramatically. Here at ESQ Educational Services, we recently launched a survey of international education programs - preliminary data indicates that most K-12 programs expect less than half the usual number of students.

Returning K-12 students can come back on their current study permit - provided they complete the 14-day quarantine. The parents of new students are more reluctant, with many opting to defer until fall 2021. For those students who wish to come this year, it may be difficult to get a study permit. For example, Brazil has more than 3.1 million cases of COVID (the second highest in the world) and the Canadian government may be reluctant to accept students from that country.

And then there's the risk that students could book travel and then not be allowed in. The Canada immigration official website states: "Government representatives will make the final decision on your entry to Canada at the port of entry."

In post-secondary, the vast majority of colleges and universities will be running classes online. New international students will not be allowed into the country unless they can demonstrate that they need to be in Canada. 
Math assessment for K-12

Accurately assessing a high school student's math level is often a time-consuming and costly undertaking. Vital Math, a new diagnostic tool from Vital English, seeks to improve on this. Delivered through a highly stable and secure online platform, Vital Math can within 15-20 minutes accurately place a student at the appropriate grade 9 to 12 level. Developed by a highly experienced math teacher and assessor, Vital Math can assess large numbers of students in a short time span while reducing costs.
Visit here to test drive Vital Math or contact Vital English for a demo.
Secure testing at home with iTEP 

With test centres closed in many countries, the iTEP test is offering virtual proctoring - for both admissions and placement testing.

Students can take the test at home and are monitored by iTEP's secure proctoring service, Fotosure. This service is available for both the Academic Plus (for colleges and universities) and SLATE Plus (for high schools).

Individual students can then submit their scores for admission to educational institutions in Canada and the US.

In addition, institutions can ask prospective students to test at home for placement purposes. For example, Seneca College is currently testing with virtual proctoring for placement in levels of its English Language Institute, using the iTEP Academic Plus.

"iTEP is committed to helping colleges and universities across North America to meet their admissions and placement needs by providing at-home testing that is safe and secure," says Jim Brosam II, President of iTEP International.

The iTEP team has implemented additional security measures, including locking the candidate's computer throughout the test so that they cannot open a web browser or documents.

Here in Canada, iTEP protects the privacy of test-takers by employing a Canadian server to hold the test results and student data. This means that all of a candidate's identification information and question responses are protected under Canada's privacy laws.

ESQ Educational Services is a representative in Canada for the suite of iTEP tests. For more information, please contact Doug Ronson by email or phone 613-888-9560.