June 02, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - A high school planned for Thompson Rivers University could bring hundreds of uniformed students to the university campus.
The Maple Leaf University School will start in September with 60 students in the university’s Old Main building in an area of the second floor sectioned off for the high school.
Maple Leaf Education North America president Dawn Sutherland says the plan is to expand to 500 students with a boarding school built on university grounds. The current agreement between the university and school states a decision will be made by July 31, 2019 as to whether the school will be built with construction starting in 2020.
Sutherland says the school will be an independently run institution. Her company is a subsidiary of China Maple Leaf Educational Systems, a for-profit Chinese company that runs B.C. accredited schools in China. The planned high school will be the company's first on Canadian soil, she says.
“Maple Leaf graduates can enrol in a degree program at TRU, which leads them through the B.C. teacher program,” she says. “Once they graduate we have guaranteed them employment back in our schools.”
Chadwick says there are about 20 students signed up for the first year of the teaching program.
The high school students arriving this fall will be kept separate from university students, she says. They’ll also be dressed in uniforms and supervised by guidance counsellors while on campus.
Where the students live is still uncertain. Sutherland says they’re looking at homestay, on-campus dorms or off-campus dorms, adding the students won’t be staying on campus.
The initial group of students will have completed their previous grades in the company’s Chinese schools. She says once the school moves to its new building it will be open to Canadians and students from other countries.
When they graduate, Sutherland says students will receive both B.C. and Chinese high school diplomas, as they’ll be taught courses mandatory for B.C. along with Mandarin and Chinese social studies.
She says the idea for the school came from a brainstorming session between the company and university, which have had a long relationship due to TRU's international program.
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