Ialca to avoid Canadian study fair

23, October, 2014

The Italian Association of Language Consultants and Agents (Ialca) is not attending a Study in Canada Fair hosted by the Canadian Embassy next month in protest at agents being overlooked for the event.

The Study in Canada Fair 2014 is being held in Rome on November 7 as a free-to-attend public event and is being advertised on the embassy website as an opportunity for “students, young professionals, parents and teachers” to meet with Canadian universities, high schools and language schools. Almost 50 institutions or school districts are listed on the event website as attendees.

Lorenzo Agati, President of Ialca, said the association, which is a member of the Federation of Educational and Language Consultant Associations (Felca), was disappointed with the lack of consultation with and involvement of the agency sector in Italy.

“Ialca has tried to propose a different strategy. We asked them to organise meetings between schools and agencies to underline the importance of agents in promoting international programmes and supporting students and families when they have to choose the correct programme and then during their stay abroad,” said Agati.

“Although the embassy has now dedicated some space to agencies, we have had the clear feeling that their focus was actually on the fair and not agents. For this reason, we will not take part in any meeting in Rome.”

The embassy website lists November 6 as a ‘Business Day’ at the fair, “open for agents, counsellors, professionals in the international education sector, representatives of high schools, post-secondary and public institutions”.

Agati added that Ialca had consulted with fellow European Felca members and believed that agents have been more involved in similar Canadian events across Europe. “It is well-known that just before arriving in Italy for the embassy fair, the Canadian schools have met only qualified agents in Spain and in Germany,” he said.

In response, a Spokesperson for the Canadian Embassy said that the approach for this fair was one that wis used by Canadian embassies across Europe. “In recognition of the fact that education agents/consultants are key in the mobility of international students, an entire day has been dedicated to bringing together Canadian schools with Italian agents and other education partners, to meet, develop collaborations and form partnerships.”

The Open Day for students is designed to build awareness of Canada to a wider audience in Italy, the Spokesperson said. “Branding Canada as a study destination of excellence will assist both Canadian schools and Italian agencies in their recruitment initiatives, as once students and parents have been made aware of the opportunities presented by Canada, many will turn to agents to make their dream a reality.”

The Spokesperson added the Embassy was pleased with the number of Italian agencies and institutions taking part in the business day and was welcoming any that may be interested in attending.

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