The recent success with the international exchange of students with China is being expanded, with students from India set to come to WCPS in the fall. File photo

WCPS hears plans for student exchange with India

School division based in Ponoka looking to move ahead after success with China exchange

On the heels of a successful introduction of a student exchange with China, Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is moving forward on an exchange with India.

Representatives from WISE Global made a presentation to WCPS trustees at its meeting on Dec. 6 as a follow up to a visit to India earlier this year by WCPS assistant superintendent of learning services Mark McWhinnie and director of learning services Sean Lougheed.

WISE Global’s Vancouver-based president Gaurav Kisan, as well as director Shreya Kisan, based in England, were on hand to show trustees what the company has done with exchanges with two schools in B.C.

“We are currently in the middle of our third program with 70 students and four chaperons that are also doing an educational exchange with teachers here,” Shreya explained. “Our program is school-based.

Shreya explained the basic program is 15 days with students staying in local hotels during the short trip. As such, the students pay for the entire cost of the program.

“The important part is that the students attend classes right alongside the Canadian students,” he stated.

“Any of the activities — visiting the outdoors, taking in local attractions, enjoying the winter — is all related back to learning rather than just sightseeing.”

One other important aspect for the students is getting the opportunity to visit post-secondary institutions. That is also one of the big reasons to partner with WCPS, as it has developed positive relationships with Alberta’s colleges and universities.

India visit

Shreya added that after connecting this summer with WCPS, the visit in the fall to India by McWhinnie and Lougheed helped advance the prospect of establishing a longer term exchange partnership.

That included meetings with the influential Canadian High Commission and with officials at various schools.

Next step

Part of the point of the presentation is to get trustees to help support the program by hosting school officials from India and promoting the idea. The process could continue if elected officials and the superintendent could make the trip to India and further the discussions with schools and the Canadian High Commission.

The first group of about 15 to 30 students from India is planned to visit WCPS in May, while the tentative timeline for WCPS students to make the trip overseas is sometime in early 2020.

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