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How is Canadian Higher Education Adapting to the Ongoing Pandemic

Fri July 3, 2020     399

Corona Virus has brought the world to a standstill. Global economies are in a slump; people have been losing jobs and facing the brunt of the current pandemic. International education has also suffered a massive blow due to the ongoing situation. Students who had their education plans mapped and their lives planned are now in a state of confusion and chaos. 

Canada is a famous student destination that has witnessed unprecedented growth in the number of international students over the past few years. Students who planned to go to Canada for May 2020 and September 2020 intakes have been rendered helpless due to the current situation. But the Canadian Higher education system has handled the current situation brilliantly by employing several measures into practice, such as online education and distance learning. Even though the future seems unsure, and the teaching methodology needs to be tailored as per the situation, Canada is committed to ensuring the success of its present and prospective students. 

According to a recent survey conducted by iApply, over 66.8% of students said COVID-19 strongly impacted their plans. Over 38% of students were okay with seeking online education until the time they were able to make it to Canada. Students have also been looking for discounts on their tuition fees as they will not be able to make it full-time face-to-face learning. 

In light of students' responses, the government of Canada has developed full-proof plans to help students make the best of this terrible situation. First and foremost, the contingency plan for the current intakes includes online learning. The students have been given the option of starting their courses online or deferring their education to the next intake. The Government of Canada has released a 9 Billion Dollar student-aid package to support international and domestic students studying in Canada. 

POSTGRADUATE WORK PERMIT (PGWP)

The government has also made some modifications to the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). According to the new guidelines, the PGWP of students who are not physically present due to the present scenario will not be affected. The time you spend in your online classes shall be counted as the hours contributing to your work permit. 
Getting a work permit takes typically over eight months of campus instruction along with many other formalities. Still, the online teaching module enables students to add the duration of their work permits. This is a significant step taken by the Canadian government, especially for students who were deterred by the present situation. Students who will begin their programs online from September 2020 will not have any time deducted from the length of their PGWP. 

Some students are willing to defer their education by almost a year, even after receiving the offer letter until things settle down. With the new changes in the PGWP, students are now more interested in taking online courses as this has instilled a new sense of security in them. 

FINANCIAL AID FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

Along with taking care of students who are yet to come abroad for education, Canadian authorities have been actively working for students studying and working in Canada. International students working in Canada are eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefits.  CESB aims to provide financial support to students who were rendered jobless due to the ongoing situation. These benefits provided $1,250 to eligible students and $2,000 for students taking care of dependents and the differently-abled students. The Quebec Government is also willing to extend the Quebec Acceptance Certificates of international students if they are set to expire before December 31, 2020. 

The Government of Canada is also working on creating new jobs for students through the Student Work Placement Program. It aims to allocate $80 million to support over 20,000 post-secondary graduates in the country by helping them find lucrative jobs in the field of education. Along with that, the government has also started the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, amounting to $153.7, which will help youth develop new skills and gain valuable industry experience that will boost their careers during these difficult times. Moreover, the government has also suspended the student loan installment up to September 30, 2020. 

Several students have been struggling with their mental health amidst the ongoing situation, and loss of jobs and normalcy has taken a toll on their mental well being. The Canadian government has issued a fund of $7.5 million towards mental health and generates awareness during COVID-19.

According to a recent survey conducted by iApply, over 66.8% of students said COVID-19 strongly impacted their plans, and over 38% of students were okay with the seeking online education until the time they were able to make it to Canada. Students have also been looking for discounts on their tuition fees as they will not be able to make it full-time face-to-face learning. 

Currently, the virus situation in Canada is under control, and many provinces have begun to ease their restrictions, and individual universities have also started to open up their facilities. Universities like McGill University have started opening some of its research departments, with researchers required to follow the university's directives and as well that of the provinces. Likewise, the University of Montreal and the University of Prince Edward Island have also slowly started opening their research faculties. They plan to let in students in phases while making them follow the rules. 

The entire world is looking up to Canada and admiring the way it has worked for the welfare of students, both current and the ones who are looking to come there in the future. This shows that the administration and higher education department are not only concerned about students but consider it to be their utmost responsibility to look after their interests and ensure they are not facing any problems or issues. 

In a nutshell, we can say that Canada has been working relentlessly towards making this uncertain time work in favor of students allowing them to commence or continue their education. For more information regarding any developments in Canada's study process, check out the details on iApply or contact our counselors.