CDNIS maintains OSSD accreditation – for now: Ontario Ministry of Education, IB

As CDNIS scrambles to fulfill minimum requirements to keep its credit-granting status valid, The Ontario Ministry of Education and IB Organisation say they are keeping an eye on CDNIS.


Concerns regarding Canadian International School Hong Kong’s (CDNIS) Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) standing were raised after the exit of a raft of Ontario-certified teachers, either by resignation or firing, in the past month.

Voices raised addressed the possible loss of OSSD certification as the percentage of Ontario-accredited teachers as of July 7 has dropped to less than 60%. This falls below the 80% requirement by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

HT has consulted Gary Wheeler, spokesperson of the Ministry. According to him, CDNIS’s OSSD accreditation will remain unaffected in the next school year, despite the staff changes that have taken place earlier.

“The Canadian International School of Hong Kong currently has 74% of their teachers with an OCT certification, and has provided the Ministry with an action plan that outlines how the number of OCT teachers will be increased to the required 80% of teaching staff before the start of the next school year,” his e-mail reply reads.

The Ontario Ministry of Education made the decision not to change CDNIS’s OSSD standing on the grounds of the school’s future plans, implying that the Ministry is confident that the school will commit to the promises made:

“Three [of the four fired secondary school teachers] have been replaced with Canadian teachers and they are in the process of obtaining their OCT qualifications prior to start of school year on September 1, 2015,” Wheeler explains. The requirement seems not to differentiate between those with decades of experience and those with freshly minted qualifications.

Responses to Student-Alumni Forum Petition

Two weeks since the CDNIS Student-Alumni Forum’s created a petition to demand change,  CDNIS spokesperson Melanie Hnetka, claims  the school regrets the mobilisation:

“The School is disappointed that some former and current students have felt compelled to launch a website critical of the School’s governance,” she says.

She also pointed out that the school had been working on governance reform even since before the petition was launched.

“The School is committed to governance reform and has been working tirelessly since November to bring about governance reform, endeavouring to do what is best for all stakeholders in a timely manner,” she says. “The School is continuing with an open and honest dialogue with all its accrediting bodies.”

The petitioning students and alumni demanded investigation into the school’s governance issue by external organisations including the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IB Organisation), the Ontario Ministry of Education, and Hong Kong Education Bureau (EDB).

The IB Organisation is keeping an eye on this, according to Sebastien Barnard, Regional Communications & Marketing Manager of IB Organization’s Asia-Pacific Office. “The IB Asia Pacific office has been following this situation closely,” he says. “We are in contact with the Canadian International School Hong Kong regarding changes in their personnel.”

He stated that the IB Organisation will “take action” if the school fails to implement the IB curriculum up to the Organisation’s standards.

“Our responsibility lies with ensuring the authorised programmes at the school are implemented in line with our Standards and Practices and we will take action if this is found not to be the case,” he says.

On the other hand, the EDB refers the complaints back to the school:

“The Education Bureau has received enquiries from parents about internal school matters. The parents’ concerns were conveyed to the school authorities. The Education Bureau would remind the school to ensure smooth operation, maintain close communication with parents to address their concerns and safeguard students’ well-being in learning,” their statement reads.

The Maloberti administration promised that the school will be fully staffed with certified teachers again by the beginning of the next school year, and that the Ontario Ministry of Education has no current plans to remove OSSD accreditation. Assuming the administration fulfills its commitments, these recent developments should minimally assure concerned CDNIS parents.

The Council of International Schools declined to extend accreditation in 2006 due to the school’s governance structure and earlier this year, after a week visit noted in local media, declined to even present a report given the recent turmoil.