Canadian lecturers and instructors are routinely receiving passionate, imploring pleas for passing grades from the foreign students who increasingly fill their English classes.
Langara College and other Canadian educational institutions have experienced a five-fold increase in the number of foreign students since the beginning of 2014, but two English language instructors say the college’s over-dependence on international fees is not working for many distressed foreign students, their parents or as well as other students in the classes, students.
English instructors at Langara College in B.C. Anne Moriarty and Peter Babiak are among a small group of Canadian lecturers who are breaking their silence to raise concerns about the flourishing business of international education, which now see about 130,000 foreign students to brought toB.C., mostly Metro Vancouver.
“I do feel sorry for the (foreign) students, of course, but that’s not really the point. When I allotted grades, probably I need to be objective and not allow emotions get in the way,” Babiak says.
“There is a thriving industry dedicated to assisting students jump through English-language band, which lecturers like me everywhere work hard to defend. Being part of this is weighing down on my conscience,”
However, Langara college Provost Ian Humphreys says: “there is no pressure on faculty and any Canadian lecturers or instructor to pass foreign students who are not yet achieving learning outcomes.”
Humphreys remark that he is proud that Langara college “is an open-access institution that caters for a diverse student population – both local and international – that has a high number of English language learners.” He says the college’s graduates have a strong pass or success rate when they transfer to other higher institutions or the job market.
Moriarty, however, claims that even though many of the international students work hard in their business, technical, and computer programs, many also leave their compulsory English literature course to the end of their long-term programs, knowing their English is weak.
Both Moriarty and Babiak also worry over how classroom discussions in English literature courses are often severely affected because of language barriers. It means, he said, students who seriously wish to study linguistics, novels, and composition don’t get as many high-level instructions as they should.
The number of foreign students at Langara College has expanded almost five-fold in the past four years, to a sum of 5,107 students (not adding those in continuing education).
In line with foreign-student recruitment initiatives in India by former B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark and Langara College managements, the number of students at Langara from India has surged up Fouty (40) times higher in just three years. It’s increased to 3,084 students from India in 2017, up from only 68 in 2014.
Foreign students this academic session alone made up about Thirty-Four (34) per cent of the 15,000 full-time and part-time or regular students at the institution, compared to just Thirteen (13) per cent three years ago.
Ajay Patel, who is in charge of external development at Langara, admits the college has been “seriously recruiting foreign students in many markets, including India.”
He said by so doing, is in line with the policies of the federal and B.C. provincial governments.
The agonies raised by Moriarty and Babiak, however, support those of Patrick Keeney, a B.C.-based education professor who wrote in a Canadian faculty journal about increasing language barriers in Canadian classrooms.
Since international students make up significant numbers of many Canadian classes and many struggles with French or English, Keeney said, he’s witnessed how both local students and international students are being exploited or shortchanged, especially those in the humanities and social sciences.