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Confronting Covid-19 with a Paradigm Shift in International Education

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

As a hub for many students, Canadian institutions have always held a special role in the international education community. Having welcomed more than 642,000 students in 2019, Canada continues to grow as a popular destination for immigrants and temporary residents. The pandemic has disrupted not only the lives of international students but also the operations of many educational institutions. Online learning has become the primary mode of education, but there are large disparities that range beyond a difference of time zones and geographic locations.

"I was not mentally prepared to finish my final undergraduate year in front of a computer screen, without in-person interactions with my peers and professors. I miss being in Toronto and e-learning is never able to replace the value of traditional classroom learning", said Jordan Lee, an international student who decided to remain in Hong Kong to complete his degree with remote learning after the pandemic hit.

To alleviate this pressure, Caspire Education Inc. works with its global network of strategic institutional partners to deliver a hybrid learning environment for international students who are unable to enter Canada but still wish to commence, continue or conclude their studies without compromising the academic quality. As an official University of Toronto Start-up company with a residency at The Hub, Caspire strives to leverage an online-merge-offline (OMO) approach to confront the challenges that educational institutions and international students are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

By creating OMO international partnerships among reputable higher institutions, such as Xi’an Jiaotong University, Caspire makes international education more accessible, affordable and meaningful so that students in Asia can enjoy the benefits and flexibility of hybrid remote learning, delivered by the best-in-class faculty in Canada.

Giving students exposure to different academic and social environments, Caspire's facilitation of international partnerships helps students develop their employability skills and global competitiveness while removing many of the financial burdens that come with studying abroad. As Dr. Gray Graffam, Director of The Hub (University of Toronto Incubator) highlights, "Caspire is bringing new energy, ideas and opportunities to the education industry; we have great faith in their ability to innovate and embrace new opportunities."

Through Caspire, educational partnerships are evolving to meet the changing needs of post-secondary institutions and their international students under the COVID-19 pandemic. Breaking through the high-costs and geographical constraints of studying abroad, Caspire allows for greater freedom among students without jeopardizing the quality of their education.

Co-founder and Director Isabelle Hon-Lee explains, "at Caspire, we desire to inspire; giving students the opportunity to pursue the educational path that meet their needs, capabilities, and resources in an otherwise difficult and challenging time."

Seeking to decrease the number of challenges specific to international students, Caspire shifts the focus from where you are studying to how you are studying. An emphasis on hybrid learning allows students and academic institutions to concentrate on inspiring innovation in education.

Caspire Co-founder Rachel Lawal states, "With a mission of building a better world by cultivating visionary leaders with a world-class, heart-centred approach to education, Caspire highlights the importance of adding value to your education through character building and cultural exchange, providing more options than ever before for students and institutions. In a time where many people are trying to adjust to the new normal, we are here to help your academic aspirations take flight, redefining international education."

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