Full name: Canadian Association of Private Language Schools (Capls)
Year established: 1997
Number of members: 52 schools representing 100 locations
Type of members: private language schools
Association's main role: setting standards, marketing, lobbying for private language schools, networking and learning about industry trends
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Government recognition: yes, by Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Membership criteria: three years of operation, and adherence to standards and code of ethics of the association
Agent workshops/fam trips: no
Capls secretariat, 12880-54A Avenue,
Surrey, BC, Canada,
Tel: +1 604 5072577
Fax: +1 604 5020373
Valerie Richmond, President of Canadian private language schools' association, Capls, answers our questions about efforts in Canada to work towards national standards for the international education industry, improved visa regulations and other ongoing goals of the association.
What was Capls' most significant achievement last year?
We increased our membership by 43 per cent and provided input to Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding [plans] to change the student visa exemption from three to six months, which [should] mean that students will be able to study on a visitor visa for six months. Our standards committee was very active this past year. Included among the completed initiatives was the revision of the standards for teacher qualifications and the code of ethics. We also established new policies and procedures that improved the association's ability to deal with internal issues, for example, the preparation and approval of a dispute resolution policy.
According to members, how have the events of September 11 last year impacted on business?
The immediate effect has been varied. Some centres have noted a five to 10 per cent decrease in student numbers, while others have had an increase as students originally destined for other locations have transferred to Canada. The overall situation has improved for schools now, however we are all a little more aware of security issues.
Is Capls working to promote the idea of nationally recognised standards within the language learning sector in Canada?
Yes, Capls has been working very hard to promote nationally recognised standards in Canada. We continue to have discussions with government bodies and educational associations. It is only a matter of time before nationally recognised standards are in place. We are committed to setting standards that assure the quality of education for our students.
What do you believe to be the greatest challenge facing Capls members in the coming months?
Our biggest challenge is in promoting Canada as a destination of choice. Canada has been engaged in the provision of English language and further education training for many decades. As a multicultural country, we have developed expertise in this area and that makes our quality of instruction and understanding of multicultural issues second to none. However, we are relatively new in promoting ourselves in the international arena. We need to be recognised by international students as the number-one location to consider when planning their language and educational needs.
What events has Capls been organising to promote its members, and do any of your initiatives specifically involve agents?
Capls is very active in promoting our members. We have a website that provides a link to our member schools and we distribute our guidebook to 2,400 agents worldwide, the CEC Network, Canadian embassies and government officials. We have also participated in the Hanover 2000 Expo and will have a booth at the Nexus fair in Sao Paulo. We are involved with Gaela [the Global Alliance of Education and Language Association] and through this avenue we have been looking at standardising an agent questionnaire.
Capls does significant lobbying work on behalf of member schools. What results have these efforts yielded, especially in relation to immigration issues?
As I mentioned previously, one of our greatest achievements has been providing input into the issue of student visa requirements for Canada. We also had the chairperson of our marketing committee appointed by the Canadian Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to sit on [an] advisory group on international trade, which advises on how Canada can promote the services sector. We have a seat on the [Department's] Round Table on Education Marketing and [also] maintain close contact with the CEC Network.
Do you have a message for our agent readers about Capls' future aims and goals?
Our primary goal is to promote [language learning opportunities in] Canada and consequently, our membership. We are aiming to have a membership that is committed to excellence and to understanding that by providing our students with a first quality education and a positive experience of Canadian culture, we will ensure that this industry continues to grow and thrive.