News for International Educators Across Canada
July 2020
We'll get through this together

I was pumping gas the other day and there was a sign at the station that said: "We don't know what the future holds, but we can get there together."

That pretty much describes the international education sector. We know that the long-term outlook for Canadian programs is bright - we just need to weather the current storm with innovative ideas and by supporting each other.

Programs, recruiters, teachers and a wide variety of organizations providing services to international students have been impacted by the restrictions on travel and class shutdowns due to the pandemic. For example, Moore Student Living, a firm that provides accommodations in the Atlantic provinces, expects a 25 percent drop in the number of tenants this fall.

Canada Homestay Network is seeking to fill empty rooms by opening up homestays to domestic students. Says Director Jennifer Wilson: "As a team, we were looking at our capacity - hundreds and hundreds of furnished rooms in caring, engaged homes across the country - and the lightbulb came on. Why can't Canadian students also benefit from living in a home away from home while they study."

Here at ESQ Educational Services, we are doing our part by presenting our webinar series on reopening. The next session is of critical importance - how to manage risk with solid agreements with students, parents, homestay hosts and other key players. It's being held on Friday, July 17 at 1 pm Eastern. Please see below for details.

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

Webinar next week:
Reduce your risk with solid agreements

The pandemic has heightened the importance of clearly communicated and understood agreements for students, host families, parents, employees and other stakeholders. The risks are high and it's essential that everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities. The session will consider the proper use of a "force majeure" clause to excuse parties from liability when unexpected extraordinary events (such as a pandemic) occur. It will also review the critical four components of any such agreements: Informed Consent, Permission, Release of Liability, and Indemnity. 

Cost is just $49 plus tax. 

Date: Friday, July 17 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)

Emergency Planning Webinar

Mark your calendar! Our webinar on Emergency Planning is being held on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

International ed jobs on the line 
as pandemic worries continue
Covid-19 continues to ravage many parts of the world. In international education here in Canada, it's clear that there will be a big financial impact. What's more uncertain, is the question of when the sector will return to "normal."

The shocks continue. This week, the US government ruled that international students enrolled in online study would be required to go back to their home country. That left US colleges and universities to choose the lesser of two evils - open up their campuses and risk spreading the virus; or move their courses online and have students go home, perhaps never to return. The American Council on Education, composed of university presidents, described the ruling as "horrifying."

Over the long term, these US decisions will, of course, benefit Canadian higher education by making this country seem more attractive. Prospective students will be shunning the US and looking for a good alternative.

Almost all Canadian universities are planning for online study this fall for the bulk of their courses. That's expected to result in a drop in international enrollment (and perhaps even a dip in domestic numbers if students decide to take a year off.) The impact on revenues will be substantial. For example, Dalhousie is budgeting for a 21 percent decline in tuition revenues and an 8 percent overall reduction in operating income.

In addition, there is the specter of schools being forced to continue with online instruction for the winter term. Tweeted Alex Usher of Higher Ed Strategy Consultants: "Most Canadian universities and colleges will hurt with one term online. Two is going to drive a few of them to the edge."

The expected decline in the number of international students enrolling this fall will have a dramatic impact on employment in the sector. Some international departments have already cut staff. Fewer teachers will be needed - some part-time teachers will not see their contracts renewed and unionized full-time teachers at a number of institutions have already been laid off. For example, Cape Breton University, which relies heavily on international student fees, announced in June that it was cutting 60 term employees and temporarily laying off 40 non-faculty staff.

Meanwhile, the English-language sector continues to struggle. Most schools earn the bulk of their revenues during the summer - and this year that has been virtually wiped out by the lockdown and travel restrictions.

Is there relief in sight? Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of Languages Canada, says his organization is "launching a major initiative" in the next while. While he was tight-lipped on the details, the group has been aggressively lobbying the federal government for a bailout. So far, two English-language schools have permanently closed and some people have speculated that half the sector could be wiped out unless there is some kind of government relief.

The K-12 sector has been hampered by delays  in provinces announcing school reopening plans for September. It's tough to recruit international students when overseas parents don't know what their child's education is going to look like this fall.