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VICTORIA –New Democrat Advanced Education critic Michelle Mungall introduced the Private Career Training Institutions Amendment Act Tuesday to help strengthen student protections and regulatory oversight for the private post secondary sector.

“If B.C. is going to successfully attract more international students, we need to ensure that we have a reputation of excellence in post secondary education,” said Mungall, the MLA for Nelson-Creston. “The purpose of this bill is to ensure student protections are in place by strengthening provincial regulations.

“B.C. has received considerable criticism over its regulation of private post secondary education,” said Mungall. “Both the Chinese and Korean Consulates have warned their students to avoid enrolling at private colleges in B.C. until more is done to protect them. And former BCIT president John Watson raised concern that the Liberals de-regulation of ESL institutions put the industry at risk in his damning review of the Private Career Training Institutes Act in 2008. Despite this, the Liberals have taken little action.”

Mungall’s bill would restore student protections by establishing a minister-appointed board that would require schools to provide students with a statement of their rights and responsibilities, streamline the student complaints procedure, properly regulate ESL schools and establish ongoing quality control of private colleges.

The bill would also require English as a second or foreign language schools to administer pre-testing and post-testing of English through standardized tests approved by the board, to all students at the beginning and end of their programs.

“I had the opportunity to attend the B.C. Career Colleges Association Conference and I heard a lot of concern that B.C.’s reputation for post secondary education may be tarnished by a few poor schools that, unlike the majority of operators, do not have students’ interests as their top priority,” said Mungall. “I share these concerns and I’m committed to ensuring that regulation is clear and that it protects students while upholding the excellent work done by exceptional private post secondary schools.

“If the Liberals are serious about restoring international confidence in private post secondary institutions and ensuring proper protections are in place for students, they will work quickly and support this Bill,” said Mungall.

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe that in order to protect B.C.’s education brand, we must show leadership by strengthening student protections and regulatory oversight for the private post secondary sector.

A copy of the bill is attached.

Attachment: 2011-11-17_pctia_amendment_act