By Matthew Knott, News Editor of StudyTravel Magazine

Government intervention is an occupational hazard of running a business in the international education sector.

At its best, that regulation can be considered well-intentioned to support and grow the industry and, most importantly, produced after thorough consultation with the industry – although too often agents don’t seem to be part of this process.

Alas, not all government policy reaches such exalted levels, and a couple of news stories this week have shown the creative ways that schools and associations have had to manoeuvre in order to move forward, or at least to keep running at the same pace.

When Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) published amendments to the International Student Program in 2014, there was much that was welcomed by educators and agents alike, as our special feature at the time highlighted. Prior to this the country was lacking the industry regulation structure that most of its international competitors already had in place.

But the delegation of “designation” responsibilities to provincial level was always likely to create a patchwork of regulations - confusing for providers operating in multiple provinces and, of course, agents working with schools across the country.

The provinces now have to designate which institutions can receive students on study permits, required for study periods of six months of longer. Quebec is the only province that has failed to recognise language education for designation, no doubt a source of major frustration for the 39 members of Languages Canada in the province.

However, sidestepping provincial government, the association has signed a framework affiliation agreement with post-secondary college CEGEP de la Gaspésie et des Îles that will allow its member language schools in Quebec to continue to receive international students on study permits.

“We are very pleased to have found a partner that supports the growth of the international language education sector in Quebec,” proclaimed Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada. He added that the province welcomes around 12,000 language students every year, and at least a third of these look to stay on the further studies. Overall, a good example of the value of an association can provide to its members and their clients.

Another element of the CIC changes that caused consternation within the language sector was the removal of the work co-op programmes for language students. This story from early 2014 displays the level of surprise when the move was announced.

But another news story this week shows how Tamwood International, a school that benefitted previously from such streams, has further expanded its vocational college options so that it can provide formal qualifications and work experience programmes and continue to satisfy demand from international students.

Elsewhere this week, we have: a story on the London & Partners research paper that claims international higher education students inject some UK£3 billion into the capital’s economy; my full report from the Class of 2020 conference on European student accommodation;  and news of a UK language school expanding its operations – a refreshing balance to recent news of closures in the country.

Don’t forget all of the major news stories of the week are rounded up into handy audio format with our weekly ST Magazine News Podcast.  

Happy reading or listening!

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