The Vancouver School Board is considering establishing a specialty international studies program that would be based at two sites-the new University Hill secondary school at UBC and Sir Charles Tupper secondary school.
The idea is part of budget proposals unveiled April 10. Superintendent Steve Cardwell said he's been thinking about such a program since his days in the Delta school district. Since the international studies program needs to be developed, built and marketed, the overall proposal includes short-term and long-term initiatives. "There is a short-term and a long-term concept because it'll take a little bit of time to create it, but the concept is that we would establish an international global awareness program-kind of a United Nations program focusing on international studies and international awareness," explained Cardwell. "There is a program that already exists that is available to be used that's through the advanced placement international diploma program- APID.
The short-term step portion of the proposal is to establish a supplemental international program, with an ESL emphasis, where students would receive instruction in core subject areas. This could start as soon as January 2013 with a projected enrolment of 60 full-time equivalent students and net an estimated $214,000 for the district.
The longer-term initiative would see the program shift into the international studies specialty program, potentially launching by September 2013, which would attract both Vancouver and international students. "Because international students come and go, we're able to then shift gears into that second long-term project," Cardwell said.
The budget proposal anticipates 150 full-time equivalent students in 2013/14 and a net revenue of $905,000.
Both Tupper and the new University Hill secondary school, being built at the old National Research council site at UBC, have space for the program, according to Cardwell, who expects it will appeal to students from across the globe, including Europe, South America and Asia who are interested in international studies. "I'm hoping it will also draw from our own student population and create what will be quite a unique opportunity for students," Cardwell said. "Because it's at two locations, it will be an interesting opportunity for the two locations to interact and also to connect with the university as part of their lead into post-secondary."
Cardwell said the revenue generating aspect of the proposal fits into recommendations from the recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the districts' finances.
The Vancouver School Board was scheduled to hear feedback on its entire preliminary budget proposal from stakeholder groups at a committee meeting Tuesday night, after the Courier's deadline. A budget consultation meeting to hear public delegations is slated for Thursday April 19. Revised budget proposals will be released April 24. The final budget vote is April 30.
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