The Delta school district has an official in China trying to attract students.
The staffer, Lynedah Vartell, vice-principal of international student programs, is attending the China International Education Exhibition Tour, the largest education fair in that country.
The fair is being held in seven major cities - Beijing, Zhengzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xi'an, Wuhan and Guangzhou - from March 10 to 25.
The 2011 fair attracted over 60,000 students planning to study overseas. Hundreds of post-secondary institutions as well as school districts from 35 countries have information booths, including a B.C. contingent that features Delta, Vancouver and Coquitlam school districts as well as UBC and SFU.
Deirdre Annett, Delta's director of international programs, said the district has a prominent corner booth at the fair. It was the same case last year when the district representative brought back over 10 applications for the following school year, which brought in over $120,000 in tuition revenue.
"Delta school district has a staff member at the booth for student recruitment, to interview and assess potential applicants, to meet with Chinese agencies in order to sign new agent agreements, and to network with Chinese educational district and school staff in order to form potential partnerships," Annett explained.
"In the days between the fairs, the Delta school district staff member has also been making presentations and seminars to Chinese students and parents, running agent staff training sessions on the Canadian education system, meeting with a variety of school district staff and touring select partner schools in China. She has also been meeting with the parents of current students to review progress and has participated in evening recruitment seminars at a variety of agencies."
International students are estimated to conservatively bring in $25,000 each to the Delta community, said Annett, noting their numbers help boost declining enrollment and allow specialty and other courses to run that might have closed due to insufficient numbers.
"International students have joined Delta academies, are represented on sports teams and clubs, and add to our vibrant school cultures. We are excited to embrace and welcome our new international students as their inclusion supports the philosophy behind Delta school district's new bold vision, which embraces diversity and promotes global citizenship," she said.
Delta has approximately 300 students from 20 countries. China has the largest contingent, followed by Korea and Germany. Students also come from such countries as Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and France.
On the fair's website, Bai Zhangde, a director general with the Chinese government's education ministry, said that with the rapid development of China's economy, study abroad has become an important channel for personal development.
"China is now the major source country for international students. In 2010, the number of Chinese students studying abroad reached 284,700. This fully reflects the huge demand from Chinese students to study abroad," he stated.
Also attending this year's fair was B.C. Education Minister George Abbott, who signed a memorandum of understanding with Huangpu Education Bureau for two new B.C.-certified offshore schools in Shanghai.
The Delta district isn't involved with overseas schools, but is trying to take advantage of other revenue opportunities in China and other countries with a company called Delta Global Campus.
The company specializes in exams for overseas students that want to graduate with a B.C. curriculum but are looking for course credit ahead of their arrival. They can write the exams in a number of subjects before arriving here as international students.