The new provincial requirement is part of recent changes to the International Student Programme in Canada. All jurisdictions have to develop a list of post-secondary institutions that are eligible to host international students for study programmes of longer than six months.
“This may provide the assurance that the sector and the BC government are in sync when it comes to international education”
At the moment, institutions can apply for EQA designation on a voluntary basis, but accreditation has been made mandatory in response to the forthcoming regulations.
Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada, told The PIE News that most of the association’s members in BC are already EQA designated, and that those that are not yet are applying.
“EQA is really not much more than a registry, but it may provide the assurance that the sector and the BC government are in sync when it comes to international education,” he said.
“It is also a mechanism for the BC government to exclude an institution from receiving students requiring study permits,” he explained.
EQA was introduced in 2009 as the first education seal of quality in Canada. Already, over 125 institutions around the province hold the EQA designation, including all 25 public institutions, 55 private career-training institutions, 13 private degree granting institutions, and 32 language schools.
Though the EQA is administered by British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE), eligibility criteria are set by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. Eligibility criteria include having a transparent tuition refund policy.
In order to be eligible for EQA designation, institutions must also be accredited by either the Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) or Languages Canada, an association of public and private education providers which represents the country’s two official languages, English and French.