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The Business of School®

By Joni Miller


In Spring of 2002 the B.C. School Act was amended with Bill 34 to allow for the creation of for-profit School Board # Business Companies. The Bill also contained many other new policy initiatives: school board accountability contracts, the creation of school planning councils, special advisors to francophone school districts and funding formulas for operating grants to boards (Bill 34 – School Amendment Act, 2002). The Ministry of Education is encouraging school boards to apply for a major entrepreneurial initiative: the Ministry has identified private schools in China (17), Japan (2) and Taiwan (1) to be run by school district business companies and offer the B.C. curriculum and dogwood (British Columbia Ministry of Education “FactSheet”, 2002). The certified overseas schools must meet the learning outcomes of the B.C. curriculum, employ teachers with B.C. teaching certificates and have students write the required B.C. exams. The Ministry will certify and inspect the schools and issue Dogwood diplomas to graduates.

School boards may use their company to make profits to pay for educational programs. Companies must have a board of at least three people, at least one of whom must be a school board official or trustee. School bBoards are not supposed to transfer money to these businesses. If they transfer assets, such as teacher-developed learning resources to these companies, they must be for fair market value.

British Columbia is undertaking significant, rapid policy change; they are the first to move in this direction of entrepreneurial public school boards.

Why does the B.C. Ministry of Education want public school boards to fund programs by selling the curriculum and credentials for profit? Official Arguments supporting the new policy.

The Ministry of Education's 2002/03-2004/05 Service Plan Summary states that “improving student achievement is the overarching goal of the Ministry and in all parts of the education system. To support this goal, the Ministry is committed to providing greater local autonomy to school boards to provide a new range of choice for parents, students and staff and providing an understandable, transparent, comprehensive and population-based funding formula” (p.2). The government amended the School Act with Bill 34 with this goal in mind: What benefits do they believe will be derived from this educational policy?

The most obvious argument they present is that operating offshore schools is an easy way for school districts to raise funds to enhance public education programs in B.C. The government assures boards that operating overseas schools is a low-risk and innovative means to package up B.C.'s high-quality curriculum and ship it overseas. “Ministry spokeswoman Kate Thompson said the move put boards 'at the vanguard of international entrepreneurial provision of education'” (Greensfield, 2002). Many school districts, as well as universities, already have experience in marketing education internationally when they recruit foreign students to attend B.C. schools: “Smaller districts may profit more from attracting international students to study in B.C.'s public schools for annual fees that can run as high as $11,000, [Education Minster Christy Clark] said. Many B.C. school districts have been enjoying the revenue boost from foreign students for several years. The international program brings a total of $60-million a year to B.C. districts, Ms. Clark said” (Bolan, K. 2002).

A second argument is that overseas schools offering the B.C. curriculum will foster positive cultural exchange, dialogue and understanding. The Asian overseas students will learn English, learn more about Canada and become ambassadors, hopefully choosing to continue their studies in Canada, and then invest in our economy. B.C. teachers going overseas to teach will similarly gain new cultural understanding and enrichment. B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell says that,

We have great schools and post-secondary institutions in B.C., and we want to work with China to make these resources available to Chinese students…Expanding our educational partnerships will create new opportunities for Chinese students and help build even greater cultural and economic exchanges between China and B.C. in the future. (B.C. Office of the Premier News Release, 2003).

Gordon Campbell is not alone in his view that there is great profit to be earned in the international education market both recruiting students to Canada and exporting educational services abroad. “The Prime Minister's creation of the Team Canada approach to promoting Canadian economic interests offered another chance for us to raise the education flag alongside the banners of industry and commerce. By being on the team we had the opportunity to demonstrate to our own government and business leaders the value of Canadian higher education as an export commodity”(Ozmon, K. 2001. Cited in CECN “Perspectives: the value of international students”, p. 25).

B.C.'s current political agenda and policies are reflective of a national approach of marketing education to improve the economy; whether these policies actually improve education will be disputed in greater detail in this paper.

Should public school boards be applying to create companies? Varying opinion in the educational community.

New Westminster was the first school board to successfully create a for-profit company under the new legislation. Vancouver, West Vancouver, Langley and Port Coquitlam have followed suit. All of these districts are located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia; they are the “haves”. According to the B.C. Ministry of Education,

School boards have repeatedly asked for the ability to engage in entrepreneurial activities. Boards will now be permitted to create entities through which they can provide consulting services, educational or administrative expertise or international education. Other amendments ease financial restrictions that have tied the hands of school boards, and will allow them to share administrative services with other boards, municipalities or corporate entities. (2002, cited by Creative Resistance).

No evidence is presented as to how many school boards have “asked” for this fund-raising ability prior to 2002, or how “repeatedly”, and there is not a glimmer of information as to the most important question: “why would public school boards want to become entrepreneurial”.

It is true that once the School Act was amended school districts applied and at least one member, the oft-quoted Vancouver Board Chairwoman Barbara Buchanan, is enthused by the profit potential:

'The prospect of working with Chinese partners to develop accredited schools overseas is very exciting. We are trying to market educational expertise because that is what we have got…There's so much potential.' She said she doesn't know how much money will be earned for Vancouver schools through the ventures, but it will help alleviate a $25-million shortfall for the 2002-2003 fiscal year. Vancouver will use some of the $21-million annual income from investments for the offshore school's project. (Bolan, K. 2002)

What we are trying to sell is both managerial and educational expertise…We have a wealth of experience in teaching principals leadership skills. As well, we want to sell our expertise in teaching the British Columbia curriculum and English as a second language: 50 per cent of our students arrive in our classrooms without English, many speaking Chinese dialects. (Greenfield, 2002)

This is a chance to market intellectual property – it's exciting,” [Vancouver School Board Chairwoman Barbara Buchanan] said with exasperation when quizzed about the issue during the public question period after the [board] meeting.” (O'Connor, N. 2002b).

However, the governmental assumption that many school boards have repeatedly been requesting entrepreneurial powers is contradicted by New Westminster school board chair Doug Walker, chair of the very first board to apply to create its own company: “If we had proper funding from the government, we probably wouldn't have to do this” (Pappajohn, L. 2002). In newspaper interviews with others impacted by the entrepreneurial amendments to the School Act the government's motives are questioned: “Vancouver school trustee Adrienne Montani said she has serious concerns about the proposed ventures. 'We are kind of rushing into things with the incentive being an underfunded education system,' she said . . .'We are spending all this time being entrepreneurs…We have been decimating our system for a decade. That should be where our focus is'” (Bolan, K. 2002). Catherine Evans, co-chair of the Point Grey parent advisory council: “The question is, how far will they go with this? There may be other good reasons for it, but it still comes back to this is not a solution for the underfunding of education” (O'Connor, N. 2002b). Helesia Luke, Tyee PAC co-chair: “is concerned that the Ministry of Education has an ulterior motive in encouraging boards to raise their own funds: if they're successful, the ministry could try to reduce grants in future.” (O'Connor, N. 2002b). Port Coquitlam Trustee Debra Burton is concerned that her board's bylaw to incorporate as a business company

lays the groundwork for the privatization of the education system…I wonder how fiscally prudent it will be to go into business while we're looking at a deficit this year?...I do appreciate that we are in desperate need of these funds… . . . But this represents a fundamental shift in the way we fund public education, and I don't think we can take this lightly. I get the sense that the provincial government is encouraging private enterprise for school districts, and if you don't enter their realm, you're penalized in terms of funding. It's tantamount to extortion, frankly, and I can't support it. (Blais, S. 2003).

A significant argument against neo-liberal policies centre on fears that public school boards will divert their energies into entrepreneurship rather than their primary mandate: public education. Larry Kuehn, director of research for the B.C. Teachers' Federation, sums up the argument:

In B.C., once some school boards adopt an entrepreneurial mode, they seem to be as concerned about innovation in business as in the old-fashioned task of educating public school students in their own neighbourhood schools. Business operations under development include online learning, software sales, learning resource marketing, property management, and contracting services such as speech and hearing specialist and psychologists. The Coquitlam district has created an international college through a subsidiary company of it schooldistrictschool district business company; it is a private college to offer English programs to international students. The Nanaimo board directed senior staff to prepare business plans for offering carpentry products, information-systems services, vehicle maintenance, print-shop services, and bus rentals to the community. If it moves, sell it, seems to be the philosophy. The New Westminister School District Business Company bought Open School from the government, in partnership with a private company, and plans to make money by selling distance-education resources both in B.C. and internationally” (Kuehn, L. 2003). “When Open School was created, it was given without cost all the materials developed for the ministry while it was still a branch of the ministry. Last year, Open School earned a profit of $142,600 by selling course materials for distance –education students in B.C. and internationally. (2002).

A concern expressed by many members of the public is the lack of consultation or true accountability in the decisions by boards to create for-profit companies. In a democracy governments and public institutions are expected to consult with and be accountable to the public. “Accountability” is another core value that has been bandied about by the B.C. Liberals as a buzzword. No sincere debate or acknowledgement of implications was allowed in the House; likewise, school boards have not actively engaged in public consultation before quickly undertaking radical funding reforms. “It is indicative of the lack of concern about public accountability that of the few districts that have created business companies, none has first held a public meeting so that all the issues around the companies can be discussed. Because of the reduction of real levels of funding for our schools, the districts have jumped at the promise of revenue, without examining the down sides or the alternatives” (Kuehn, L. 2003). Ken Denike, one of the NPA trustees who voted in favour of incorporation said “In order to take advantage of the China initiative this year, a company had to be in place almost immediately, he said. 'Events overtook the issue. Delay for a year and miss it. A company operates in a competitive venue - if you don't move on it, other people will'” (O'Connor, N. 2002b).

Even more troubling is the creation of subsidiary companies by school district business companies. They are like the numbered companies created by construction firms so that liability for leaking buildings or other problems rests only with the subsidiary and not with the actual owners… Subsidiary companies are another step beyond control of the public board. Directors have no necessary connection to the school board and are responsible to the business company, not to the school board. Programs such as Coquitlam's international college have been created as subsidiary companies. (Kuehn, L. 2003).

Several arguments have been presented as to why public school boards should be cautious in creating for-profit companies, but the essential question remains unanswered: why encourage entrepreneurial activity in a public education system?

Education Minister Christy Clark explains her government's rationale: “We are committed in our New Era platform to giving parents and students greater choice and flexibility in public schooling…Today, we are fulfilling our commitment by freeing boards to make decisions and dedicate resources according to the priorities of local students, parents and schools” (Ministry of Education, 2002, cited in Creative Resistance). Herein lies the Orwellian agenda of neo-liberal policies: “choice” actually means shifting public money to private, for-profit schools, “flexibility” is a euphemism for funding cuts.

As to “freeing boards” I concur with NDP MLA Jenny Kwan who says that “accountability contracts and flexibility for school boards are mechanisms for the government to off-load its responsibility to provide adequate resources and shift blame to school districts when goals are not reached” (Kwan, J. 2002. Cited in British Columbia School Trustees Association).

What I believemay be to be the Ministry's true motives were revealed in a bombastic November 2003 statement by Education Minster Clark in which she insinuates that public school boards hid a record surplus and are thus responsible for the lack of services. In a Vancouver Sun article entitled “'Cash-strapped' schools have $145-million surplus: minister. School Boards say Christy Clark's math is 'smoke and mirrors'” the Education Minister says “We've done our bit. We've delivered the money. Its school boards' responsibility to allocate it” (Steffenhagen, J., O'Brien, A. 2003). She then repudiates claims of underfunding and cuts by blaming the school boards: “This $145 million answers the question that has been gnawing at me for a year –which is, we allocated an extra $92 million in the last two years to school districts and still parents are telling me they don't see that in improved services in classrooms…Now we know why. There's $145 million that's been socked away.”

Why do Asian private schools want to buy the B.C. curriculum and dogwood diploma? Opinion from the customer.

“They want to have our system. They like our standards,” said New Westminster school board chair Doug Walker…”There are tremendous growth opportunities because of the size of China. A number of other B.C. school districts are doing the same as us. But because the market is so big, there is ample room for all of us.” (Pappajohn, L. 2002).

“Again, in commodity terms, the Dogwood Certificate provides an advantage in getting access to the quality post-secondary institutions we have in B.C. And, of course, we offer our program in English, what Korean Teacher Union official Lee, Dong-Jin calls “the language of globalization.” (Kuehn, L. 2003).

A November 5, 2003 News Release by the B.C. Office of the Premier refers to “expanding B.C.'s successful offshore school program”. Successful by what measure? British Columbians, both for and opposing the commodification of education, have an idea about why Asian private schools might want to buy the B.C. curriculum and credentials. What do the Chinese say?

In 1998 China announced plans to open its education sector to foreign investment with the development of an “education city” where international schools and universities would be allowed to operate. Zhang Zhen-de, director of China Education City, said “our final aim is to attract branches of famous universities to organise any university they want...Only 2 per cent of young people in China can go to universities and colleges. There is a huge market for us to organise more tertiary education” (Cited in Forestier, K. 1998).

To date one B.C. offshore school, the Darian Maple Leaf International School in Liaoning China, offers programs based on the B.C. grade 1-12 curriculum and leading to a Dogwood Graduation Certificate from the Ministry of Education. The school's website (www.mapleleaf.net.ca/English/index.htm) says it was founded in 1995 with 53 students and enrollment is currently at 2500. It is the largest independent school in northeast China and claims to “blend the best in education of China and Canada”. Of the 335 teachers, 55 are foreigners.

A major advantage for Darian MapleLeaf students is that they obtain dual diplomas issued by both Liaoning and B.C. education authorities. The website cites several advantages for students enrolled in the school, the key one being direct admissions to foreign universities without taking TOEFL or IELTS (English proficiency exams).

This system enables our senior high graduates make [sic] their first important choice in their lives in a more natural, relaxed atmosphere just like the Canadian high school graduates: with their Canadian PEN# and transcripts from the senior high programme, they can apply to any foreign universities they choose, as there is no university entrance exam abroad. Every year after January, our Grade 12 students start to apply to any majors or universities they like…The more they apply, the more letters of acceptance they will get, from which they can select the ones they like most realizing the two way selections. When other Chinese students are taking the competitive university entrance examinations under the July heat, our Maple Leaf graduates have all gotten their letters of acceptance into foreign universities…100% were admitted into foreign universities. (“Graduates” link, Maple Leaf website].

The website concludes that Maple Leaf graduates “have done an excellent job, winning honours for Maple Leaf School and for our motherland. Many of them, while vacationing in Chinaa, visited their alma mater, expressing their desires to repay the kindness of Maple Leaf School by serving their motherland when they graduate from abroad.” This is an interesting comment: the publicity is saying to Chinese parents that in exchange for private tuition fees their child will gain direct access to foreign universities where they will then again pay high tuition fees; yet the ultimate goal is to devote the cultural capital of foreign credentials and education gained to the service of the motherland. The concept of choice is interesting in the Chinese context: parents are buying the choice to apply and be accepted to any university of faculty desired (based on marks, and ability to pay tuition). This choice is not widely available to the majority of Chinese public school students who write exams for either humanities or sciences/engineering; admission to Chinese universities is based on highly competitive entrance exams which include academic, physical and moral qualifications. Once admitted however, students do not have to pay tuition fees and receive free room and board (“Index-China.com” website).

A secondary point of interest is the values espoused by the Maple Leaf School. The website explains that “students can not only learn the best science and culture of Canada and other countries of the world, but also keep the excellent Chinese history and cultural traditions. Students learn knowledge of all fields, foster a right study attitude for life, ability and will-power, and nurture the personal quality of seeking health and ideal hope.” This measure of success is laudable but not measurable or quantifiable; it sounds more like a goal of anti-neo-liberalists than the mission of a school approved by the B.C. Ministry of Education. The school's code of conduct directs students to “contribute to public welfare, live a simple life, stick to moral codes” and admonishes them not to “show off your money, engage in love affairs or wear bizarre clothes.”

The Case Against Neo-Liberal Funding

The above sections reviewed the perspectives of the direct participants in the new funding program – government, school boards, and customers. In summary, the government believes it has found a new, legitimate, and effective funding source. Some education professionals share that view while others fear that it will lead to further cuts to base funding, general privatization, and a lowering of service levels in the public system. The customers see the program as an escape from constraints in their own educational system and as an entrée into a globalized and largely English speaking world, while cloaking these intentions in terms of local cultural and economic development.

While all these perspectives are valuable, it is the argument of this paper that the program has a much greater significance, bearing on the underlying tenets of education, the world-wide issue of globalization, and the impact on unionization.

What are the implications for how British Columbians value and organize provincial public education?

The stance one takes regarding entrepreneurial public school boards operating offshore schools depends on how one fundamentally thinks of education: “If you think of school as a private market rather than a community good, priorities shift” (Kuehn, L. 2003). It is very clear that education is viewed as a marketable and measurable resource by the B.C. Liberal party, and the language used in their “New Era” policies reflects this approach. Business buzzwords are being used by the Ministry of Education like “accountability”, “efficiency”, “assessment and quality control”, “outputs and inputs” and “entrepreneurial”. In the 'Knowledge Economy' students and parents are viewed as consumers making choices and buying education packages, teachers are the service providers, principals are the managers, school boards are entrepreneurs, and of course, education is the commodity to buy, trade and sell. B.C.'s Education Minister has been quoted in The Globe and Mail using the word commodity to describe education: “Ms. Clark said the B.C. school curriculum is a valuable commodity that is ready for export. 'The districts that have the entrepreneurial interest in doing this will benefit the most.'” (Bolan, K. 2002).

The School Act is the over-arching legislation governing the structure, roles and responsibilities of the public school system in British Columbia. The mission statement for the B.C. Ministry of Education is a policy statement that indicates direction for the education system and reflects governmental attitudes: “The purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable learners to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous and sustainable economy”. The Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) criticized the statement which they felt was all about individualism and market values, preparing young people to be workers not citizens, and ignoring completely any idea of social responsibility. The government's wording is indicative of their philosophical approach: they replaced “socially responsible” and “democratic society” (as suggested by the CTF) with “individual potential” and “sustainable economy” respectively (Caplan, G. 1998).

Maude Barlow is the national voluntary chairperson of the Council of Canadians. In a speech entitled “Class warfare: The assault on Canada's schools” she outlines her alternative view of education in the competitive economy. It is worthy to note that the viewpoint expressed in her speech, delivered in 1995 well before the election of the B.C. Liberals, is relevant for today's opponents of the marketization of public education.

Public schools do not preach competition; they do not cut their losses, exploit their advantages, or publicize their strategic plans. Established to meet collective goals of democracy and equality, public schools have little in common with the new theology of individualistic consumerism and competitiveness that characterizes the global economy and has taken deep root in North America. This fact, and the steady erosion of public funding for education, has made our public schools very vulnerable; for today, if you are out of the marketplace, you are out of the loop.

Professor Micheal Apple is interested in the relationship between power, culture and education and he refers to “the on-going debate about the production of knowledge, what knowledge is of most worth, whose knowledge is of most worth, and what constitutes official knowledge” (1993, p.316). Now we can add profitability of knowledge to the equation.

What are the greater implications in light of the World Trade Organization regulatory framework?

A significant concern with public education creating for-profit enterprises is that the WTO could eventually decide that foreign corporations can compete for public-school dollars in Canada if public school districts are competing for business in other countries. In order for an education system to be excluded from the scope and application of the GATS it must be completely financed and administered by the State without any commercial purposes. The WTO has identified four forms of international trade in education (See appendix 1). B.C.'s recent policy change allowing public school boards to gain profit from selling curriculum and the B.C. dogwood overseas, as well sending B.C. certified teachers overseas, clearly falls under the above guidelines. Canada has promised that education will be excluded from future international trade agreements, but time will tell. The potential risks are identified by Larry Kuehn, Director of Research for the B.C. Teachers' Federation:

Three key problems are common to entrenching services in these trade agreements. The first is that they treat education as a tradable commodity – not recognizing that education is to a significant degree a social process that should be rooted in particular social and cultural realities. Second, they are anti-democratic. If there is a disagreement about whether an education policy is a trade issue, a trade tribunal of the WTO will decide on the action to be taken. The rulings of these tribunals can overturn decisions that have been democratically made. These trade tribunals have secret hearings, not open, democratic processes and impose their judgement. Third, these trade pacts are designed to prohibit a country from changing its policies. Once a government has agreed to include an area like education into one of these agreements, it cannot withdraw that area from being covered by the agreement – even if the people of a country vote overwhelmingly that they do not approve of what is happening…The nature of these agreements leads not only toward economic integration, but toward assimilation into a conception of culture that sees it primarily as a product for sale and for export.” (2000).

What are the greater implications in terms of globalization and social justice?

Two greater implications arising from the current neo-liberal path of public education are the exacerbation of inequities both in British Columbia and abroad, and the polarization of unions versus governments.

Neo-liberal proponents would argue Darwinian logic that the best and most innovative schools will prevail, and the lesser schools will raise their standards or be closed down. The counter-argument is that public education is meant to foster equity and co-operation, rather than competition. The dilemma of “have” and “have-not” school districts is a valid concern in British Columbia. “Small B.C. districts probably would not have as much opportunity to profit internationally, Ms. Montani [Vancouver school trustee] said, causing funding inequities around the province” (Bolan, K. 2002). Larry Kuehn of the B.C. Teachers' Federation outlines concerns about inequities in a capitalist system:

The job of the market is not to create social equity – and it never does. But in a democracy, one of the roles of government is to seek equality of opportunity. One of the key ways to do that is to ensure that finances are distributed to give extra support necessary to even the playing field for those who come to school with fewer of the opportunities that can be provided by families that are financially well off. Making business success the basis of providing needed funding to support public education will exacerbate social inequities in our province. Further, running elite private schools in other countries will create more social inequities there as well. Already in B.C. we see significant differences in the amount of supplementary funding available from the tuition charged international students in our classrooms. West Vancouver, the district with the highest socio-economic status in the province, also makes the most money from international students – money then available to subsidize the educational program in the district.” (Kuehn, L. 2003)

In a capitalist system the sellers are not concerned with potential negative consequences for the buyers. Public school boards, however, morally should not ignore their role in contributing to further inequities in China's system when they create private schools for profit in that country. Moreover one can not ignore overtones of neo-imperialism when a westernized country exports the English language and western curriculum overseas.

Unions versus governments

The 2003 British Columbia Teachers' Federation Annual General Meeting adopted a policy of opposing the creation of school-district business companies based on the inequities created by this creeping privatization (Kuehn, L. 2003). The B.C. Liberal party has systematically implemented policies to dismantle the BC College of Teachers, and all policies and agreements previously negotiated by teachers and their union. The discussion has become polarized as one of opposing values: collectivity vs. individualism, cooperation vs. competition, social justice vs. profit. This is a topic that warrants further investigation. It is ironic since government is really meant to represent the public and the collective good, yet appears to be destroying them.


How can one explain the irony of a public education system that is perceived to be in crisis and failing by the Canadian public, yet is valued and coveted overseas? The irony of a public system that encourages school boards to operate elite private education overseas in order to finance public education programs? Policy is important because it can either assist educators and society in their goals or hinder them. It is my conclusion that current policies implemented by the B.C. Liberals do not facilitate the work of educators; they make that work more challenging and stressful.

It is my contention that the current B.C. Liberal government has launched an unmitigated attack on all public institutions and in particular, against teachers and unions. As a B.C. public school teacher I, like many of my colleagues, have great difficulty believing or supporting any policy emanating from the current Ministry of Education; there is a deep mistrust and suspicion of the motives behind current policies and funding decisions. I can recognize potential positives associated with Bill 34: these include an easy source of funding to support programs for B.C. students, an opportunity for B.C. teachers to work overseas, international students who become ambassadors for Canada, and of course, economic rewards. I am a firm believer in the benefits of international exchange and cross-cultural learning. I teach languages and culture, co-ordinate a global education program in my high school, and organize international volunteer programs for students. I have studied in France and Guatemala and taught English in France, and can thus attest to the positives of such experiences. However, based on the research conducted for this paper I must conclude that there will be negative implications resulting from Bill 34. This opinion is reached based on the lack of public debate, the implications for inequity provincially as well as overseas, and government's espousal of market values which I believe are antithetical to the goals of public education.

Governments rise to power and then fall; policy statements are amended or dismissed. Curriculum and texts are words on paper that assist in educating students; they can be packaged and sold but they are not the essence of education. Ultimately it is educators who make daily decisions and value statements in their interactions with students, and therein lies the hope for the B.C. public education system.

Appendix 1: GATS

1) The cross-border supply of a service from the territory of a member country to another member country. In the case of the education sector, distance education is included in this category. When the institution of given country A provides distance courses to another country B, then country A is deemed to be exporting education services to country B.

2) The consumption abroad by citizens of a member country on the territory of another member country. In the education sector, the most common example is undertaking a course abroad. When a student from a given country A takes a course in country B, the latter is deemed to be exporting education services to country A.

3) The commercial presence of a service supplier from a member country on the territory of another member country, enabling the supplier in question to provide a service on that territory. In the education sector, the activities carried out by foreign universities or other institutions fall within this category. Thus, when an institution from country A is implanted in country B to perform education activities in the latter, country A is exporting its services to country B.

4) The presence of natural persons enables a form of trade resulting from the mobility of people from one member country which supply a given service in another country. As far as education is concerned, courses offered by foreign teachers are a classic example of this. When a teacher from country A teaches in country B, his or her own country becomes an exporter of education services to country B

(Education International and Public Services International, 2000).


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O'Connor, N. (2002a, June 24). School board selling 'smarts'. The Vancouver Courier.com. Retrieved November 4, 2003 from www.vancourier.com/064102/news/064102nn7.html

O'Connor, N. (2002b, September 23). Parents question school board's private business venture. The Vancouver Courier.com. Retrieved November 4, 2003 from www.vancourier.com/094102/news/069102nn9.html

Pappajohn, L. (2002, October 17). Board builds business. The Record [New Westminster]. Retrieved November 4, 2003, from www.royalcityrecord.com/102202/news/102202nn4.html

Pappajohn, L. (2003, September 8). Business plan details on the way. The Record [New Westminster]. Retrieved November 4, 2003, from www.royalcityrecord.com/092103/news/092103nn2.html

Steffenhagan, J. and O'Brian, A. (2003, November). “'Cash-strapped' schools have $145-million surplus: minster. School boards say Christy Clark's math is 'smoke and mirrors”. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved November 12, 2003 from www.canada.com.vancouver.vancouversun.story.asp?id=514A16F1-EC8C-4BE3…

Thomson, K. (2002, November/December). Trustees vote unanimously to sell resources and expertise offshore. Teacher Newsmagazine, (15), 2. Retrieved November 10, 2003, from www.bctf.ca/ezine/archive/2002-2003/2002-11/support/04TrusteesVoteToSell.html

Joni Miller (joni@alberta.ca) is a B.C. high school teacher and a graduate student at the University of Alberta.

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