Lester B. Pearson School Board ends contract with private recruiter
Board cuts ties with Naveen Kolan, president of Edu Edge, amidst audit, UPAC investigation
With an anti-corruption investigation underway and a government-ordered audit looming, the Lester B. Pearson School Board confirms it is no longer working with a private recruiter, Naveen Kolan of Edu Edge.
"We no longer have a contract with him," the board's chairwoman, Suanne Stein Day, confirmed at a public meeting Tuesday night.
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The Pearson board established a partnership with Edu Edge in 2011 to recruit students from India for the board's accounting DEP program.
The board recently posted a warning on its international careers page telling students not to pay tuition fees to LBP Vocational College, a private entity incorporated in Quebec's business registry by a Naveen Kolan of Toronto.
Stein Day said the board is currently reviewing all of its recruitment partnerships to make sure "that we're only getting reputable recruiters."
Stein Day did not elaborate during public questions on how much money the board has made through its international programs.
"The amounts are under investigation by our auditors and investigators," said Stein Day. "I don't even have the numbers so I can't talk about them."
But minutes from a September 2014 meeting of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board's executive committee state that "the profits realized by the Lester B. Pearson School Board last year were in the neighbourhood of $6,000,000."
The Laurier board's executive committee was discussing the profits from Pearson board's partnership with Edu Edge because the board was considering signing a deal with the Pearson board and Edu Edge to open a health care-focused vocational program for international students in Laval.
Though the deal ultimately was signed, the project never materialized, and the Laurier board has confirmed it, too, no longer has ties with Edu Edge.
Audit to begin in new year
Education minister Sébastien Proulx announced in November that he was appointing Michelle Lapointe, a retired assistant deputy minister of education, to audit both the Lester B. Pearson and English Montreal School Boards.
As well, UPAC has confirmed it is investigating both boards.
Stein Day said the audit was not yet underway but said investigators were expected to meet board administrators either this week or in early January.
"We are very much looking forward to the audit and the investigation, and we will co-operate … fully with them," Stein Day said.
Downtown campus to close
Stein Day also confirmed that the board is closing its downtown campus, which operates out of rented space in an office building on Robert Bourassa Boulevard, and moving international students to its Beurling Academy building in Verdun, starting in January.
She said it had always been the board's plan to move students to one of the board's own buildings, once the space became available.
"Last summer saw some major renovations in [Beurling Academy] to make sure that the high school and the vocational centre can both be maximized at that location," said Stein Day.
She said the board's administrators are currently in talks with the landlord of the downtown offices to terminate the lease.