2000 Indian Students Without Answers as 3 Canadian Colleges Close Abruptly
Students were reportedly asked to pay pending fees (Rs 9 lakh to Rs 17.7 lakh) in advance.
Around 2,000 international students, mostly Indians, were reportedly left seeking answers after three colleges in Canada's Montréal suddenly closed their doors.
Collège de comptabilité et de secrétariat du Québec (CCSQ), College de I’Estrie (CDE) and M College have all filed for creditor protection, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for their financial troubles, according to CBC News.
Students were reportedly asked to pay pending fees (Rs 9 lakh to Rs 17.7 lakh) in advance, right before the colleges closed for winter vacations on 30 November. Some couldn't pay the hefty fees.
When students returned on 10 January, the colleges were shut.
CCSQ offered vocational training in accounting, secretarial studies, medical, computing and legal studies. CDE offered courses in business administration and information technology, while M College had four courses in business, health and technology, according to their websites.
Students Protest at LaSalle
1,173 of these students were studying in person in Canada, while 637 students were pursuing studies through online classes from home in India, The Wire reported.
Some students under the banner of ‘Montreal Youth-Student Organization’ (MYSO) reportedly held a rally at Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar at LaSalle in Montreal demanding refunds, and the opportunity to complete studies and work in Canada.
They also sent a letter to the Minister of Education of Canada, the Indian Ambassador to Canada, the Montreal MP and various ministers of the opposition, according to the publication.
“The hapless students and their parents, who have spent roughly around Rs 16 to 17 lakh on their child’s education in Canada are disturbed. The study visas of 95% students back home in Punjab, who were taking online classes, have been refused by the Canadian government," Varun Khanna, a former student who led the rally told The Wire.
"At the same time, 70 percent of students in Montreal, who were in their last semester, are now stuck. Lastly, the future of 30 percent. freshers, who joined college last year is also at stake,” he added.
File a Lawsuit, Says MP
“The Quebec government suspended the licence of these colleges, after it was found that they were English Language Schools and not French language institutions. During investigation it came to light that many colleges had misappropriated funds while others declared bankruptcy and fled," Randeep Sarai, MP from Surrey Centre in British Columbia told the publication.
He suggested that the students should file a lawsuit collectively and hire a lawyer or file independent claims with the government.
“The last option is that the students appear for IELTS exam again, pay the fees and join some new college, which is not a practical idea,” he said.
Students are also worried since their Social Insurance Number (that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits) will expire while their case is in limbo.
Amritsar MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla reportedly said he will write a letter to the Canadian High Commissioner in India and Indian High Commission in Canada and demand justice.
(With inputs from The Wire and CBC)
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