ETSB program under microscope
An article that appeared in the French language Montreal newspaper, La Presse, which focussed on the ETSB’s International Student Program, has been attracting a lot of attention. In the article, it was reported that the director of the ETSB program, Eva Lettner, took part in the Premier’s Trade Mission to China, in October, then went on to Germany, Spain and Croatia to continue looking for students. The cost of that trip was said to be $8000, and Ms. Lettner will head to Mexico and Brazil, this February, to recruit. Ms. Lettner was quoted in the article as saying that the reason behind the International Student Program is “to promote 21st century competencies… and to compensate for the loss of Anglophone students.”
It was also reported in the La Presse article that the program would not be found on the Agenda of the Council of Commissioners meetings and that authorization for the program came directly from the ETSB Director General.
About three hundred foreign students have taken part in the ETSB program since it began five years ago. According to ETSB spokesperson Sharon Priest, students normally stay between six months to a year, but some do decide to continue in the program for more than one year and Ms. Priest knows of one student, personally, who went on to finally graduate from McGill. Another facet of the program has elementary students coming in groups for a thirty day period.
International students, those that stay the school year, pay $19,000 each for the experience. That covers their schooling, transportation to and from school, and their room and board. “We have a full operating budget of close to $1 million for the program, but it is a ‘closed’ budget; it generates its own profits and it is self-financing. The profits of the program are then re-invested into the ETSB to sustain other programs for our students,” explained Ms. Priest.