While the international education sector in Canada has welcomed a government decision to ease international students’ travel restrictions, problems remain as many are struggling to take tests and access visa processing facilities, a panel of experts at The PIE Live explained.
Panellists discussed international student application numbers, the opening of borders, postgraduate work and student protection in a wide-ranging debate on international education positioning and policy in Canada.
“Speaking on the opening of borders, Larissa Bezo, President and CEO of the Canadian International Education Bureau, said that” for several months, the issue of travel restrictions for international students has been a major advocacy piece in our field.
Right across the country, there has been tremendous cooperation with stakeholders, she said.
Bezo clarified that institutions collaborated with provinces and territories to create strategies for preparation to get students back.
Conditions for plans have been developed in Canada at the federal, provincial, municipal level by public health authorities. As a consequence, across the country, public health interventions are applied differently.
So,These readiness plans can, therefore be very distinctive from one institution to another. However, certain essential thematic threads relate to all of them, in terms of protection, in terms of readiness to assist students upon arrival to the federal quarantine requirements, “Bezo said.”
Bezo told the panel that they would be added to a list that will be revised by IRCC in a “dynamic manner” once institutions have been approved. The publication of this information will begin on October 20.
From day one, not all readiness plans and organisations will be ready. Still, we expect an evolving and complex list to be updated as the situation evolves around the nation, “she continued.”
Martin Basiri, CEO of ApplyBoard, however, clarified that the shift in policy by the IRCC did not completely resolve the situation.
“We have to note that the majority of students coming to Canada right now are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, especially in the college sector,” he said.
Most of them are required to conduct their IELTS or TOEFL test, and these centres are closed or run at 25 to 30 percent capacity.
The consulates are still closed, and the VACs are closed as well. So this essentially does not affect.
Panellists have also discussed the effect of Covid-19 on Canadian institutions.
Cath D’Amico, Languages Canada President and International Director at Trent University, told delegates that since March 2020, 23 LC programmes had been closed down.
D’Amico found “devastating” the loss of services.”These are services of families and workers and students that are managed by Canadians.
“In an immersion scenario, language is something that is always best taught, so the perfect way to learn is to come to Canada and get a Canadian culture and language experience,” she said.
Small programs that we’re unable to bring students in and who were maybe not able to pivot quickly and offer technical solutions to the delivery of their programs, they just weren’t able to survive,” she added.
The question of how many students will make an entry in programmes for those institutions that have survived the cause created by Covid-19. International student application numbers were debated by the panellists and what were the main factors in the student decision-making process.
Basiri said data from ApplyBoard found that the universities that were most receptive saw the smallest decreases in applications for students.
Some schools did much better than other schools. schools that were fast in many respects had the lowest drop, “he said.”
Basiri explained that there was a link between how fast in returning emails and responding to inquiries” an organization was and their application numbers.
“Historically, if a school is not responsive, then during the pandemic they have had the greatest problems,” Basiri said.