2019-09-30_thumb
2019-09-30_thumb This article is more than 2 years old
News

Private Education Company Offers To Let High School Students Pay For Classes Cancelled by Doug Ford

“Private education companies are attempting to capitalize on what they see as an opportunity to profit,” teachers say

A private, for-profit education company is taking advantage of Doug Ford’s cuts to education to sell students classes online that they used to get for free.

After only one budget, the Ford government’s cuts have resulted in hundreds of teacher layoffs, bigger class sizes and fewer elective courses to help students meet university admission requirements.

But Blyth Education, a private, for-profit education company saw an opportunity. Just recently, it launched an advertising campaign to woo students worried about class cancellations risking their futures.

One ad, spotted on Instagram, shows a student holding a sheet of paper listing a “2019/2020 high school schedule” with a number of classes listed as “cancelled.”

“Are you missing electives this semester?” the ad asks. “Don’t fall behind because of cancelled classes!”

The ad notes that the company offers 160 Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) electives at its private schools.

Instagram

Other ads the company is running on Facebook tell teenage students they can earn a high school diploma through “online courses.”

“Students in Canada and abroad are able to earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) completely online through Blyth Academy,” their website notes.

“Our private online courses cover all areas of the curriculum,” their website adds. “Because our online courses are available at any time and from anywhere, you can fit your learning to your life, and not the other way round.”

Facebook

The Blyth Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from  PressProgress about the strategy behind its ad campaign.

But Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation president Harvey Bischof told PressProgress the company’s ads are capitalizing on Ford’s cuts.

“When you take a look at the ads, they are situated perfectly in the environment that Ford has created,” Bischof said.

“It is clear that the Ford policies have created an environment that’s ripe for schools like Blyth academy to promote themselves.”

According to the Blyth Academy’s website, fees for Canadian students cost $495 for Grade 9 courses and $595 for Grade 10 to 12 courses.

Students who can’t afford those fees upfront can use a credit repayment plan through a company called “PayBright.” PayBright’s website indicates that interest rates start at 7.95%, depending on the the client’s credit score. Some plans also include payment processing fees.

Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, said its not surprising private companies are trying to profit by filling holes in Ontario’s public education system created by Ford’s cuts.

“Doug Ford’s Conservative government is making reckless cuts that are causing chaos in Ontario’s world-class publicly funded education system,” Stuart told  PressProgress, noting his cuts are “increasing class sizes,” “removing vital supports for at-risk students” and “attempting to undermine the professionalism of teachers.”

“Private education companies are attempting to capitalize on what they see as an opportunity to profit.”

Bischof also noted that the Ford government’s requirement that high school students now take four credits of e-learning courses opens up even more avenues for private corporations to take over public education.

“They have not made clear at all who will be delivering this program,” he said.

“There’s a made-to-order opportunity here to outsource the delivery of e-learning to some private institution.”

Earlier this year, after the Ford announced his cuts, PricewaterhouseCoopers began sending e-mails to Ontario guidance councillors offering Tim Hortons gift cards for insider information on how students select courses.

PwC specifically referred to the provincial government’s decision to introduce mandatory online courses.

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

ELECTION Explainer

CEO of Private Healthcare Company Hosted Fundraising Event for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

Related Stories

News

Justin Trudeau Tells International Conference Left-Wing ‘Extremist Groups’ Are ‘Pushing White Supremacy’

View the post
News

Ford’s Reduced COVID-19 School Funds Pushing Up Toronto Catholic Class Sizes, Putting Students At Risk, Teachers Warn

View the post
News

Years Of Wage Freezes Demanded By Manitoba PCs Leading To ‘Brain Drain,’ University Of Manitoba Faculty Say

View the post

Explainers

Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Work & rights

Shanice Regis-Wilkins

How Labour Activists Pushed For Policies That Protect Workers and the Environment This Election

View the post