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Nearly half a million students in B.C. public schools were kept out of class in the first weeks of September 2014 due to the ongoing teachers’ strike. Yet some 10,000 pupils in B.C. schools did start their school year on time — the difference is these were students registered in certified B.C. offshore schools abroad.

There are currently 42 of these provincially-approved institutions located in China, Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Qatar and Colombia, each staffed with B.C.-certified teachers teaching the B.C. curriculum to foreign nationals. The schools issuing Dogwood diplomas upon graduation and net B.C.’s Ministry of Education more than $4 million in revenues each year, yet few B.C. residents are aware of them.

In my latest three-part series for The Province, I explore the phenomenon of B.C. offshore schools, focusing on a new crop of schools that have sprung up in Korea.  In part two, the series also looks at recent trends in international education here in B.C. public schools, where foreign students who move to study in local schools now contribute $139 million a year to strapped school district budgets. And in part three, I examine how B.C. and Canada both fall short in creating a truly reciprocal international education system, as we send so few of our own students abroad on study exchanges.

Funding for the series comes courtesy of a media fellowship from The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, sponsored in part by Cathay Pacific Airways. Have a read and gain a new perspective on the education sector in our province.