The University of Victoria, Royal Roads and Camosun College will team up with public school districts on southern Vancouver Island to better attract international students.
“In Canada, this is a really unique partnership,” said Camosun president Sherri Bell. “It’s one of a kind.”
Bell was speaking as she, the presidents of UVic, Royal Roads University and superintendents from School Districts 61, 62 and 63 inked a memorandum of understanding to join together as members of Education Victoria.
The five-year agreement will allow the organizations to join up and promote Greater Victoria as an educational destination for a wide range of ages — elementary school, high school and post secondary.
Bell said the seamless transfer abilities offered by B.C. post-secondary institutions, compared with other provinces, and cooperation with school districts make Greater Victoria a very attractive educational spot for international students and their parents.
International families can know their children can complete high school, move into and through Camosun, UVic and Royal Roads with an ease unavailable in other provinces. Elsewhere, post-secondary institutions don’t accept course work completed in other schools towards a degree or diploma quite so readily as occurs in B.C.
About 8,400 international students, mostly high school and post-secondary, attend school in Greater Victoria.
International students have become particularly sought after in Canada by public school systems and post-secondary institutions because they pay full cost, with no government subsidy.
The Greater Victoria School District charges $14,900 a year for tuition and medical insurance for all international students in all grades. UVic charges first-year international students about $18,000 tuition annually versus about $5,500 for domestic students.
Australia is an example of a country where schools cooperate more than they do in Canada.
Pedro Marquez, Royal Roads vice president global, said at education fairs held overseas in places like Asia the high level of cooperation in Australia is obvious.
Australia will have perhaps one booth with people prepared to answer questions about all education opportunities in that country. Meanwhile, Canadian representatives will have as many booths as there are institutions.
“We have every school district, every university and every college all working from their own booth all grouped together and pretty well all selling the same learning model without collaborating with each other,” said Marquez.
“This partnership [Education Victoria] takes us to the next step,” he said.