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Living with the new normal

Jan 30, 2021

Dr. Randall Martin, Executive Director, BC Council for International Education

“The guidelines of IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) on allowing international students to study online were very helpful. I think they had to react immediately to put instruction online. They did really a good job in upskilling their faculty and their teaching staff quickly.

“They also conducted training in the technology to migrate instruction online. There are still a lot of programs that need online migration, those that are more hands-on, vocational programs that require some face-to-face learning.”

Dr. Randall Martin, Executive Director

BC Council for International Education  


Prof. Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, University of Cambridge

“Stay Safe Cambridge is public health campaign that provides information and reassurance that we are doing everything we can to make Cambridge as safe as possible. We launched a website with all sorts of information about education at Cambridge, face coverings, and COVID-19 testing, including for our students who are symptomatic and asymptomatic.

“The campaign is not about only how we are going to teach students but also how they can get the most out of life in Cambridge, like social, sports and cultural activities. We ensure that those activities are carried out in a Covid-safe way and make sure they follow, even exceed, health protocols and precautions by putting elements in place that allow all of us to looking out for each other and ourselves.”

Prof. Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education

University of Cambridge


Mr. James Griffin, President, Vancouver Film School

“We became online experts almost overnight. We quickly adapted our technological expertise and competency to a level that would serve the students and reflect what the rest of the creative industry was doing.

“The positive side was that we realized we could succeed online. We saw ways in which we could expand parts of our programs and accommodate our students’ needs. It opened up the world, wherein we could entertain the idea of having a more extensive and successful online curriculum and reach more students on a global scale.

“We’ve also been approached by other Chinese groups to set up online Mandarin-based courses and deliver some of our programs directly to the Chinese community. That’s a very concrete example of potential larger opportunities coming our way.

Mr. James Griffin, President

Vancouver Film School


Mr. Matt Burney, Director British Council China

“British universities introduced a wide range of measures, such as enhanced cleaning and improved ventilation, adjusted timetables to limit contact between groups and changes to university layouts to comply with social distancing guidelines, which allowed them to deliver high-quality education and learning while minimizing the risk to staff and students.

“All universities are expected to have comprehensive outbreak management plans in place, which have been approved by local public health teams. Last summer, they worked closely with the national and local governments to put plans in place to ensure their students’ safety in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. Now, all UK universities are well prepared for local outbreaks.

“These plans are available on university websites, and international students can speak to their university for more detail.”

Mr. Matt Burney, Director

British Council China

Article Tags: Education, Commonwealth

Education in the Commonwealth 2021 was prepared for and originally printed in Forbes China magazine.

PDF of the printed report

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