Lets start by explaining that yes, you can acquire Ontario high school credits while in China, mostly through schools that have paid to be be certified by the various Ministries of Education. On its face, that sounds like a good idea for two reasons:
- It brings in revenue to the school system in the form of certification fees
- It provides a Canadian ‘how to think’ curriculum in a part of the world where education frequently relates to ‘what to think’
So what could be wrong with certifying Chinese schools providing a Canadian education. The short answer is oversight and verification.
Ontario vs British Columbia Schools
It turns out that 21 of the 82 private schools in China that claim to provide a Canadian education based education, are only certified once at inception. Ontario provides little to no follow-up to verify that what is actually being taught is what was claimed during the original certification.
This stands in contrast to British Columbia’s process which started the business of certifying Chinese schools to follow the BC curriculum in 1995. Most are owned by Sherman Jen who founded Maple Leaf International (Schools). Today the population of his schools alone exceed twenty-five thousand Chinese student in more than 55 mainland China private schools.
The BC based Chinese schools have regular visits from both BC and external auditors:
“…BC requires that schools it accredits must be inspected every year by Ministry of Education officials and must have an external evaluation every two years (to ensure these Chinese schools) …use BC curriculum and employ BC certified teachers …” SOURCE page 202
Why Would Chinese Schools Not Follow The Ontario Curriculum?
Canadian schools are required to educated pupils to think for themselves and to:
“…Reflect on the aims of education in a democratic and pluralist society” SOURCE
Whereas the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) requires Chinese students in collectivism and not question the Party:
“…Compulsory education should emphasize the cultivation of students’ core socialist values, traditional Chinese culture and mental health. Schools should strengthen education in patriotism, collectivism and socialism, plus guide children and teenagers to listen to the CPC and follow the Party.” SOURCE
These two systems fundamentally incompatible.
Chinese students are expected to also attain Chinese diploma’s using Chinese curriculum so when push comes to shove, it is not surprising that Chinese curriculum wins out in China. It is very easy for schools that are not inspected to fall out of compliance.
What Could Go Wrong?
Ontario is waking up to these problems but is resistant to fixing the them. In May 2016 the Ottawa Citizen published a damning article:
“…Among the list of concerns the teachers voiced – first to administration, then to the ministry, and then to this newspaper – are allegations of course hours that ran well-below the ministry-mandated minimum of 110 hours, a shortage of qualified teachers, and students paying a fee to retake exams and have their grades inflated, all violations of ministry regulations…
…in interviews with Postmedia, multiple people previously employed by the school say there is “no way” some of those students could be adequately prepared for an Ontario post-secondary education…
…Ministry regulations demand that 80 per cent of teachers at an overseas private school must be OCT-certified. …Of the ten teachers initially hired, only three were Ontario-certified…
…Some of the students, I was shocked they were even in the program, because they could not speak a word of English – they couldn’t understand a word you were saying. SOURCE
And how about taking the same exam over and over again until you pass it. Of course these Chinese ‘schools’ attach a to this service that has been reported as about CDN$1100. There have been open accusations of paying for grades.
“…According to several teachers, some grades were being wildly inflated without the teachers’ knowledge. “One student in my Canadian law class went from a 37 per cent to a 57 per cent…:
(Midterm) report cards were handed out in sealed envelopes,” she said. “I was scolded and they took away half of my salary for that month, because I had given conflicting instructions. … That was the day I started to realize it’s true, they were changing the marks.”SOURCE
Follow The Money
The Canadian International Academy paid the Ontario Government $25 million for the right to issue Ontario high school credits.
It is just too easy for any business acting as an educational institution to become a ‘diploma mill’ when they are not frequently inspected and exist on the other side of the globe.