News for International Educators Across Canada
September 2020
Professional development opportunities abound

With the pandemic, international students at all levels have been learning online. But is this the way of the future? John Stackhouse, a former newspaper colleague of mine and now with the Royal Bank, certainly thinks so. The Globe and Mail and RBC recently presented a webinar pushing Canadian educators in this direction. In this issue's feature article, we consider how online learning is working - and could look in the coming years - in post-secondary, K-12 and language programs.

Here at ESQ Educational Services, we've moved our professional development offerings online as well. The first in our fall webinars looks at ways your can improve your communications to attract new students and grow your program. Now, more than ever, effectively conveying your message is vital. Please see the details below or visit our website.

Speaking of professional development, we're pleased to have The PIE as one of our newsletter sponsors. The PIE Live is being presented Oct. 5-8 and features an impressive list of speakers from around the world. These include Canadians Cath D'Amico of Trent University and Paul Schroeder, the co-founder of ILSC.

One of Canada's big international education success stories in the past year or two has been ApplyBoard, the Kitchener-based software firm. The firm has raised the stakes in the competitive English-testing sector by partnering with ETS, publisher of TOEFL. 

Thank you to everyone in international education who is keeping the sector vibrant. Remember, this too shall pass! In the meantime, stay safe.

Upcoming webinars
Effective Communication to Grow
Your International Education Program

The time has come to ditch the tired phrase "COVID Update." It's shopworn, uninformative and does nothing to help you attract new students. In this webinar, we'll discuss ways to make your communications clear, concise and compelling. Reassure your key stakeholders and build revenues by enrolling new students. 

Date: Sept. 29 at 1 pm Eastern
Cost: $49 plus tax

Christien Lee, an expert on helping teachers prepare students for high-stake English-language tests, will share strategies and tips during this informative one-hour webinar.

Date: Oct. 22 at 1 pm Eastern
Cost: $49 plus tax

Developing Cultural Intelligence
Virtual Workshop

Enhance your ability to work with agents, parents and students from a wide range of cultures in this four-hour workshop. 

Date: Nov. 24-25 1 pm Eastern
Cost: $275 plus tax
More information

Is online learning the future for
international students? Seems doubtful
The pandemic has thrust online learning to the forefront - whether students and instructors like it or not. Some thought leaders, such as John Stackhouse, former Globe and Mail editor and now with RBC, are suggesting it is the way of the future.

In a recent webinar called International Postsecondary - The Path Forward for Global Education - Stackhouse argued that the pandemic offers an opportunity for Canada to reinvent international education.

During the webinar, Larissa Bezo of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, stated that international education has been a boon to this country, with more than 700,000 students across Canada at all levels in 2019. Of course, numbers are down substantially this year.

Stackhouse noted that "too many colleges and institutes relied on international students frankly for revenues" as government funding was frozen or reduced in the last decade.

It's time, he argues, for a new model for international education - both for students and for Canada. He proposes that international students study online for the first year or two and then come to Canada to complete their studies in-person. Stackhouse suggests that post-secondary institutions collaborate to deliver online learning through a "Canada U" organization.

This idea faces a number of challenges. First of all, it's very difficult to get Canadian universities to work together on anything, let alone developing a common curriculum (and credits) for online learning. Secondly, they may be reluctant to hand over a year or two of tuition revenues to online Canada U when they could be teaching that international student in person and collecting the fees.

Alex Usher of Higher Education Strategy points out these roadblocks in his blog 
this week.

Of course, the whole idea rests on the premise that classroom learning is the only element students are seeking when they apply to a Canadian university. That ignores the potential benefits of talking to profs, socializing with classmates, living in residence, campus clubs and activities, and - yes - having a beer and socializing.

Many English-language learning programs have moved online, but their revenue is a fraction of what it was before the pandemic because they simply can't charge much for it. And online learning is simply not the same as coming to Canada.  

Says Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada:  "Let's be clear about the whole picture: students choosing Canada as a destination for language education are here for much more than English or French.  They are here also for Canada, for the Canadian experience and values, for further Canadian education, and perhaps even to settle in Canada."

"The fact that now those students can begin their Canadian experience abroad is a plus, of course, and can begin preparing students for their Canadian experience at a time when travel is challenging."

In the K-12 sector, Bonnie McKie, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Public Schools - International, says most international students are in the classroom this fall. "CAPS-I member school boards are offering in-person learning - the extent of which varies by location and grade as in some cases it's not 100 percent of the time but rather a hybrid of in-person and online."

"Whether or not online courses are being made available to international students also varies by province and school board," she says. "In some provinces, even Canadian students need to have a medical reason to be learning remotely and not in-class."