Indian students in Canada, who were affected by the abrupt shutting down of three Canadian colleges — M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil — after collecting millions of dollars in tuition fees and filing for creditor protection in January, are now able to attend online classes. This comes after Cestar International Education Group, based in Toronto, purchased the colleges.
“Our online classes started on March 21. Though we haven't been informed yet when we will be able to adapt to in-person learning, it seems it will be done by summer,” said Sukhraj Singh, who is currently based in Montreal. “After months of protest, we have finally been able to continue our education even though some of us face troubles due to the requirement of having a Microsoft account for those attending the lecture as many of them got logged out of their existing accounts when the colleges shut down,” added Sukhraj who is in his first year at CDE College and expects to attain a work permit in Canada after his education. “Our online classes are going well for the time being. Our lectures are conducted three-four days a week between 8 AM to 4:30 PM,” said Manjit Singh, from M College in Montreal.
In contrast, more than 300 students from Punjab, who had taken admissions in the three institutes are still waiting for their refund since they are unsure if they would be able to obtain a student visa to Canada.
“The new owners, Cestar, told us they will attempt to arrange for the maximum refund for students in India but didn’t give any assurance on the same,” said Deepak Kumar, from Punjab’s Nawanshahr city. He further added that they will continue their protests in Jalandhar against certain consultancies such as Canam and IDP, who coordinated the admissions of students in these colleges.
“On the issue of students in India getting their refund, we have a hearing scheduled on March 29 and are constantly in touch with our lawyers
in Canada,” stated Deepak, who has been one of the prominent faces behind the protests against consultancies in Punjab.
Students who can’t acquire a visa will receive the refund amount depending on how much money is left after the insolvency process. “We will probably get as low as $5 as a refund, which is shameful on the part of the new owners. We spent more than Rs 9 lakh when taking admissions in these colleges, while also accumulating interest on the amount. For the protest on Thursday against the consultancies, we will be accompanied by social workers, activists and others so that it gets more attention from the media,” said Vishal Singh, who took his admission in M College, and is currently struggling to make ends meet.
“We have been working with the students to find a solution to the problem of refunds even though we cannot give any commitment for the time being as it depends on how the situation unfolds with the colleges. We reply to the mails by the students and are constantly in touch with them,” said an official from Canam Consultants in Punjab who did not wish to be named.