Calls made to expand international program

Foreign students could help with district finances

Trustee Julie Austin invited Jake West and Martin Stewart to bring their ideas on expanding the international student program to their upcoming strategic planning meetings.

Trustee Julie Austin invited Jake West and Martin Stewart to bring their ideas on expanding the international student program to their upcoming strategic planning meetings.

The international student program in School District 69 (Qualicum) is a money maker and during budget deliberations this week there were more calls to expand the program in hopes of generating even more revenue for the school district.

After expenses including staffing and recruiting the school district makes just under $400,000 from the program.

During the public question period at the April 11 budget meeting, Martin Stewart and Jake West asked board members to come up with a solid business plan for the program that would increase the number of international students in the district and in turn bring in even more money.

Stewart, who ran unsuccessfully for a school board seat in the last election, has been lobbying to expand the international program and asked the board to grow the program not only to earn revenue but to expand the diversity of cultures here.

West, a teacher on call, asked if there was any way they could go after more funding for the program through grants. He suggested students become involved in marketing the international student program.

“Why don’t we have students writing grants?  They can obtain skills by writing business plans and they will need those skills because it is competitive out there,” he stated and added, “It is an unbelievable brand we have here but we just need to sell it.”

Trustee Julie Austin said she would welcome input from West and Stewart and invited them to participate in their upcoming strategic planning meetings.

She suggested West come up with a presentation and breakdown of his numbers for the board to look at.

Superintendent Jim Ansell pointed out that bringing in more foreign students won’t solve their budget woes and in fact could create some other challenges.

“We have class size limits.  If we put more students in and go over class limits we have to justify that enrollment and then at some point have to start adding teachers,” he stated and added that to hire one teacher would cost $100,000.

He said it is a delicate balancing act.

“At some point if we double the size of program we wouldn’t double our income because we would have to hire teachers and that cuts into profit margin.  If we add a single teacher our profit drops.”

He said they just can’t open the gates and bring in hundreds of foreign students in a district this size for many reasons but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to expand the program.

“If there was a million dollars to be made on this we would not turn away from it.”

Ansell also pointed out that part of the success of their international program is based on the curriculum and the B.C. experience and if they change the dynamics of it they may lose foreign students.

“If we saturate the district with too many international students they will not get the Canadian experience that they came here for.”

He said language can be a challenge for international students and part of their education is to learn English.  He said if there are too many international students in one class they tend to stick together and then they don’t get immersed in the Canadian culture.

“The kids are in a foreign place and some don’t have language skills so it is natural for them to stick together,” he said.

He stressed that if there are too many international students in a class, their recruiting agents would get complaints from parents of foreign students and they would likely move them to another district for their education.

Austin said now is the time to look at new ideas including pursuing grants.

“It’s a great fit with our strategic plan and personalized learning,” she admitted and added the board will be looking into it.

 

 

Just Posted

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue logo on the back of a service vehicle. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide letters of support for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

ASAR asks for increase in funding, one-time capital grant and for RDN to buy out current facility

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Most Read