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MONTREAL, DECEMBER 9, 2010  English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Commissioner Joseph Petraglia and Assistant Director of Adult Education and Vocational Services (AEVS) Cosmo Della Rocca recently returned from a two week recruitment mission to China.

Mr. Petraglia, who chairs the EMSB AEVS Advisory Committee, emphasizes that  the conditions in China regarding needs for vocational trades and learning English makes the EMSB a perfect partner in terms of accepting qualified students from there. “Our Chinese counterparts are not only interested in sending students, but also in collaborative projects such as work study, research, exchanges between  teachers and establishing special relationships between centers in China and centers in the EMSB,” he remarked.

During their time in China, visits were organized for Mr. Petraglia and Mr. Della Rocca to private and public vocational centers, as well as tours of many English language schools. These vocational centers had student populations of over 10,000. China has begun developing strategic economic zones such as tourism in the province of Hainan in South China, which is tropical. In order to work in this zone, English is a must and students trained in the culinary arts and tourism will be in high demand.

 “The potential to receive students is quite significant” stated Mr. Della Rocca. “ The EMSB may reap many other benefits other than financial. Bringing global awareness to the doorsteps of the EMSB and exchanging in many international collaborative projects are two exciting areas for  us.”

The EMSB representatives met with influential Chinese leaders in education and many local politicians who are involved in funding and operations with both the private and public vocational centers.  Mr. Petraglia and Mr. Della Rocca were impressed with the warm welcome they received as Canadians, and many of the educational leaders cited the very strong relationship between Canada and China.

“In our conversation the strong demand for Canadian diplomas was reaffirmed,” said Mr. Della Rocca. “It is my feeling that the demand is very high. Many years ago I would have never dreamt of going to China to recruit students, but at that time we had a much larger English system. As our enrollment declines it is important for our school board to find new revenue streams. We have much competition in China from Australia and other parts of Canada. But the unique Quebec model of vocational education, coupled with changes in the  immigrations laws, place our school board at a strategic advantage.”

The AEVS,  headed by Mr. Rosario Ortona, has many quality programs that the Chinese school administrators have already recognized.  “Hence,” said Mr.  Petraglia, “they have no hesitation in recommending our school board for vocational education and English language courses to their students.”


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213