Here in British Columbia, private career colleges are governed by an organization called PCTIA (Private Career Training Institutions Agency), which provides protection to students by setting basic standards of educational quality which must be met and maintained by institutions seeking to be accredited through the Agency.
It isn't easy to become accredited by PCTIA, and there is a great deal of work required to maintain accreditation, but for institutions truly focused on student success and educational quality, it is a burden that is happily carried out. However, there are institutions in BC that are focused more on their financial bottom line than the welfare of their students, many of whom are here internationally, and who knowingly offer programs that are not in the best interest of their students or the careers into which they are hoping to enter, and this is where PCTIA's role is so important.
A few years ago, an institution called Royal Canadian Institute of Technology had their accreditation removed and their two locations closed for failing to provide their students with the education they had paid for. As this school taught a program similar to one taught at my current college, we were sadly aware of how little their students were receiving. Many of our students were friends with students attending RCIT, and there were many stories of instructors not showing up for class and students getting "study periods" where they simply read and studied their textbooks without receiving any guidance or instruction. We also heard of classroom instruction being provided by individuals who did not know, nor belong to, the profession that they were instructing meaning that student questions were never answered because the instructor did not know the answers.
When RCIT was closed by PCTIA, our school accepted a number of their Internationally Educated Nurses into our program so they could continue their studies. Without an agency such as PCTIA, these individuals would have paid a substantial amount of money for an education and training that never would have been received, resulting in them unable to secure employment in the future and their probably return to their countries not having succeeded in their dreams.
My current college does have PCTIA Accreditation, and we work hard to always uphold their expectations, and the expectations of our students and their families. PCTIA keeps a tight reign on their accredited schools by requesting proof of maintenance of school and student records on a yearly basis, with a much greater in-depth audit being undertaken every 5 years. It definitely is a lot of work writing reports and fulfilling set obligations to maintain accreditation, but to imagine a world without such a group protecting vulnerable student populations would be much worse for all of us.
Check out the links below, one from PCTIA and another a news report of the fall of RCIT to see for yourself the value behind their work.
Receiving Schools for RCIT Students
Would You Like a Side of Co-op With That?
PCTIA Media Release - RCIT Closure