September 16, 2008

Minister Outlines Changes Regarding K-12 International Education Program

The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, advised today that a review of the International Student Education program has concluded. The review was conducted by an independent consultant, and focused specifically on the homestay component of the international program.

"Through this evaluation, we have concluded that the recruitment of international students, and more importantly, how they are cared for while living in Newfoundland and Labrador, is beyond the mandate of school districts and the Department of Education," said Minister Burke. "As such, school districts will be requested to phase-out their involvement in the recruitment of international students and in arranging for the living accommodations of these students while they study in this province."

The International Student Education program was initiated in 2001-2002, and has been limited to the Eastern and Western School Districts. Through the homestay component of the program, international students are placed with families in Newfoundland and Labrador. Homestay families are contracted by the school districts. There are currently 82 students in the homestay program.

"While we welcome international students to our province and all that our education system has to offer, the care and responsibility for these students, who are minors and living far from their parents and guardians, takes the role of the department and school districts well beyond the delivery of education, as outlined in our mission and goals," said Minister Burke.

School districts will continue to have the ability to accommodate international students in the school system by offering these students curriculum and programs, consistent with their mandate. Activities outside this mandate, such as arranging and monitoring homestays for students, can be undertaken by independent agents or by not-for-profit community agencies or groups.

International students currently enrolled in the K-12 system and the homestay program will not be impacted by the change for this school year.

Over the past several months, schools districts and the Department of Education have made changes to address the areas for improvement identified through the program review process. These changes are in effect for the current school year.

"It is important that we are clear in our mandate, which is to maintain an education system for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that is of the highest quality, and is safe and affordable," said Minister Burke. "We will continue on this path in co-operation and partnership with our school districts."

The consultant´┐Żs report, Homestay Program: 2008 Review, is available on-line at //

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Media contact:
Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 689-2624

2008 09 16                                                     3:05 p.m.


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