International students who wish to pursue their education at Quebec English School Boards do so to obtain a top level education, gain working experience and of course, to improve their language skills. This is what they sign up for.
Let’s be clear though, Anglo school boards are NOT do-gooder educational institutions. Because foreign students pay exorbitantly high tuition fees, the economic benefits of hosting international students are huge.
To attract students, Anglo school boards such as the EMSB and LBPSB hired recruiters, opened up offices in China, Korea and other countries and developed slick marketing and advertising campaigns. Big bucks to obtain even more big bucks. How much, no one knows.
The management of these International Programs is now under investigation by UPAC. Meanwhile the EMSB and LBPSB are in damage control mode and as expected, they’ve started with their diversionary tactics blaming the recruiters that they themselves hired.
Because these International Student Programs (ISP) are shrouded in secrecy, we know very little on how they operate, how they’re managed, and the financial benefits to the school boards. Have these ISPs ever been evaluated in order to improve program effectiveness? If not, why not? What is the responsibility of school boards towards the international students? What is the success rate? Are teachers pressured to pass all students as was reported in the media? What about the teachers, what are their responsibilities exactly? Are there any financial benefits to the schools hosting the international students?
In a recent report, Angela Mancini, the EMSB chairperson, stated that the “EMSB is not in the business of misleading the public and it’s not something the school board wants to be involved in”. Yet as far back as 2015, we now know that the EMSB Council of Commissioners was made aware of irregularities regarding the treatment of international students at the EMSB. Student X (name withheld) sent the following email dated February 16, 2015:
My name is ____________ I am an international student of the EMSB I am learning Automobile Mechanic. I came here about August 2014 but when I came here I think I was lied because I paid the full time course but I came they only gave me the part time (only Saturday and Sunday) and all of my classmates are Chinese I think this is discrimination I came here for language and different cultures so I sent an email to Cosmo Della Rocca about September 2014 then he explained to us he said we will go to school full time on Nov and then Cindy (yao) who is working in the EMSB she threatened me she told me “Be careful” in Chinese she is Chinese. When Nov coming nothing changed I was lied. On December I sent emails to Cosmo again the first email he didn’t reply when I sent the second email he let a guy to explain to us that guy said we will go school full time on January 2015 when January coming nothing changed I was lied again. So I talked to Cosmo to ask something. I asked “Can I change the class? Or the School return my money” (Because I have already paid the half fees) he said give him several days he will give me the information and the a few days passes Cindy (yao) threatened me again she let my classmates told me I have to do an apologize to Cosmo if not I will be fired and I wanted to see Cosmo but he didn’t want to see me he said have to do an apologize but not to him to the security I said “Do an apologize is no problem but what mistakes I made? And who I should say sorry.” He said he didn’t know the situations!!!!! But he said I have to do…And they changed my classmates’ school and they said expect me…so I don’t have a school to go even Saturday and Sunday more than one week I saw you are the Commissioner of the school Board can u help me? Please !!! Best Wish,
What measures were taken, if any, subsequent to this email is unknown. We do know that Mr. Robert Stocker was assigned to investigate but suddenly left the EMSB. As for Ms Cindy Yao, she is still employed by the EMSB. Commissioners Rosario and Joe Ortona’s close relative was promoted to assistant director of the AEVS department. We can therefore reasonably conclude that at least some council members have some knowledge of problems with the International Student Program. As for Ms Mancini’s claim that the “EMSB is not in the business of misleading the public”, it rings pretty hollow.
The EMSB and LBPSB created, manage and are responsible for their ISPs. They are responsible for the agents that they’ve hired, for the high pressure sales tactics, deceptive or otherwise, and they are certainly responsible if students were scammed out of thousands of dollars. Bottom line, the EMSB and other school boards dropped the ball and those responsible should be held accountable.