Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Brampton Mayor Expects Clampdown on ‘Diploma Mill’ Colleges to Restore Educational Integrity

Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown expressed optimism that recent actions by provincial and federal authorities will address the issue of private post-secondary institutions in the city that fail to uphold adequate academic standards. These institutions, often described as “diploma mills,” have been a significant concern, exploiting international students financially.

In a unified effort rarely seen across all government levels in Canada, measures to curb these exploitative educational practices in Brampton have been welcomed. Federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller, in January, announced a two-year suspension on new student visas beginning this fall, targeting the closure of private institutions that compromise on educational quality. Miller likened these schools to “the diploma equivalent of puppy mills” and criticized them as gateways for “fly-by-night operations and backdoor entries into Canada.”

During a press event on Tuesday (May 7) at Algoma University’s Brampton campus, where a new student residence was unveiled, Mayor Brown updated the media on the progress against these dubious colleges. He estimated that Brampton hosts between 70 and 80 such institutions. However, specific details on how many have been shut down since the introduction of the visa cap and other measures were not disclosed. Still, the Mayor, alongside Liberal MP Shafqat Ali from Brampton Centre and Progressive Conservative MPP Charmaine Williams, shared a hopeful outlook on the impact of these initiatives.

Brown reflected on the past issues, describing the situation as a “real puppy mill of degrees from not-reputable academic institutions” and emphasized the necessity of restoring academic integrity. “A year ago, I would have been really critical, but now, I am very optimistic that the transformation underway will reinstate integrity in the sector,” he stated.

MP Shafqat Ali, representing Brampton Centre, highlighted the collaborative roles of local, provincial, and federal governments in regulating post-secondary education. Meanwhile, MPP Williams, also from Brampton Centre, conveyed the provincial government’s surprise at the federal visa cap but recognized it as an opportunity to better support students and legitimate institutions like Algoma.

Williams mentioned that Hardeep Grewal, MPP for Brampton East and newly appointed parliamentary assistant to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, would play a crucial role in ensuring continued effective collaboration, underscoring the commitment of Minister Jill Dunlop and the provincial government to this cause.

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