Private school closure stuns pupils
Feb 21, 2007 04:30 AM
Tess Kalinowski /Education Reporter
About 70 students showed up at their private high school in Scarborough yesterday to find their desks gone and their classrooms empty.
Madison Academy principal Sheileen Krone said her 13-year-old high school, which catered mostly to foreign students, was no longer “financially viable.” She said less reputable operators gave other schools a bad rap abroad.
“The final nail in the coffin was the recent publications by the Chinese government about how bad private schools in Canada are. I can’t fight the Chinese government,” said Krone.
“It doesn’t matter how good or honest an operation you are, people overseas, all they read is the negative press.”
Last December, the Chinese government posted an online notice entitled “Don’t Apply to Canadian Private Schools Blindly,” warning of substandard programs, lax regulation and lack of support for students of colleges that promise more than they deliver.
Madison Academy, on Progress Ave., offered high school credit courses and a college-level computer program.
Tiffany Chen, 21, said she showed up to take a test yesterday after registering at Madison last week only to be told she was out her $1,700 tuition – the cost of two courses and assorted service fees. Other students were asking for transcripts and refunds, she said.
“It’s not reasonable for them to do this for us,” said Chen, who came to Canada from China in August and was pointed to Madison Academy by a friend.
Krone said she has made arrangements for students to transfer to other private schools but admitted there would be a tuition “upgrade fee.”
“Other schools charge much, much more, but we’ve made special arrangements for our students so they can continue without disruption,” she said.
The Madison Academy website lists tuition at $7,050 for six subjects to be studied over two semesters.
Queen’s Park passed legislation last fall to help repair the overseas reputation of private Canadian career colleges and offer some assurance of quality to people registering here.
But experts have warned that the entire private school sector has suffered as a result of colleges that have shut their doors, leaving many students from Asia stranded and without financial compensation.