Curriculum licensing arrangements in Canada also known as CLAS have been a rapidly growing feature of Canada’s international education landscape. In these agreements, a public college licenses its curriculum and intellectual property to a private college. The private college then delivers the program to its students, often international students seeking a Canadian education and the potential for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
Benefits and Criticisms
CLAS offered attractive benefits for all parties involved:
- Public Colleges: Earned additional revenue and expanded their reach to new markets without incurring overhead costs.
- Private Colleges: Gained access to established, quality-assured curriculum, attracting international students interested in Canadian credentials.
- International Students: Offered an affordable pathway to a Canadian education with the potential for future work experience.
However, CLAS also attracted criticism:
- Quality Concerns: Questions arose about the consistency of educational quality in non-accredited private colleges delivering public college curriculum.
- PGWP Loophole: International students enrolled in certain CLAS programs enjoyed PGWP eligibility, raising concerns about fairness and competition with graduates of traditional programs.
- Market Saturation: Rapid growth in CLAS led to concerns about oversupply and potential instability in the international student market.
Recent Changes and the Future
As of September 1, 2024, a significant change comes into effect. International students enrolled in new CLAS programs will no longer be eligible for PGWPs. This policy change aims to address concerns about quality, fairness, and market stability.
The future of CLAS remains uncertain. Some predict a decline in their popularity due to the loss of PGWP eligibility for new students. Others believe they will still offer valuable opportunities for public and private colleges, albeit with a renewed focus on quality control and market adaptation.
Data and Facts
- In 2022, around 40% of new international student permits in Canada were for programs delivered under CLAS arrangements.
- This generated close to $2 billion in additional revenue for public colleges.
- Concerns about quality led to investigations by provincial governments and calls for stricter oversight of CLAS programs.
Curriculum Licensing Arrangements in Canada or CLAS has played a significant role in shaping Canada’s international education landscape. The recent policy change marks a turning point, raising questions about their future trajectory and impact on various stakeholders. As the sector evolves, ensuring quality, maintaining fairness, and fostering sustainable growth will be crucial considerations for the future of CLAS in Canada.