How to establish a B.C.-Certified Offshore School

B.C.-certified offshore schools are located outside Canada and the Province of British Columbia and are authorized to offer the B.C. curriculum. The Ministry of Education certifies, inspects and regulates offshore schools, and ensures that they meet B.C. education standards. The Offshore School Program creates pathways that support international students who are considering coming to B.C. to study, live and work.

Last updated: January 11, 2021

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Expansion of the British Columbia Offshore School Program

British Columbia is a global leader in education modernization. British Columbia’s students, schools, teachers and curriculum are world-renowned for excellence:

  • Top-ranking in student outcomes in English-speaking jurisdictions
  • Best student outcomes in Canada
  • Graduation diploma recognized by post-secondary institutions around the world

B.C.’s Ministry of Education is interested in partnering with successful ownership groups that have a history of delivering educational excellence in international settings. To operate a B.C.-certified offshore school, you should be prepared to make a significant investment of time and resources.

If your application is successful, you will be invited to begin operation as a pre-certified offshore school, which will put you on the path to becoming a fully-certified B.C. offshore school.

Before you Begin

Application process

Complete and Submit the Expression of Interest

  • Contact ministry staff to request an Expression of Interest form at
  • Upon receipt of your complete Expression of Interest, the Ministry of Education will review your submission
  • If your Expression of Interest is accepted, you will be invited to Step 2: The Interview
  • No fees
  • Processing time may take up to 6 weeks

Have an in-person interview

  • Ministry of Education representatives will conduct an in-person interview with you to assess your motivation, your capacity to operate an offshore school, and your goals and plans for your school
  • You may use this interview to ask questions and get more information about the B.C. Offshore School Program
  • Based on the mutual exchange of information, the ministry will evaluate your responses
  • If the ministry determines that you have the potential to successfully open and operate a B.C. offshore school, you may be invited to proceed to Step 3: The Application
  • All relevant travel and accommodation expenses for the applicant
  • Processing time may take up to 2 weeks

Step 3: Application

Submit application package

  • Submit a B.C. Offshore School Application form
  • Submit supporting documents, including:
    • Business plan for the offshore school
    • Audited financial statements and budget forecasts
    • Local government approvals
  • The ministry will review your application package
  • If your application meets all the required criteria, you may be invited to proceed to Step 4: The Application Inspection
  • Application fee
  • Processing time may take up to 6 weeks

Step 4: Application Inspection

On-site School Inspection

  • A Ministry of Education appointed inspection team performs an on-site inspection of your school
  • If you pass the application inspection, you may be invited to proceed to Step 5: Pre-Certification
  • All relevant travel and accommodation expenses for the inspection team 

Sign a one-year pre-certification agreement

  • Sign one-year Pre-Certification Agreement with the Ministry of Education
  • During the first year of operation, pre-certified schools may begin offering the B.C. curriculum
  • A ministry-appointed inspection team performs an on-site certification inspection of your school
  • The ministry makes a decision whether to certify the school based on the recommendations of the inspection team and whether the school meets the requirements set out in the Pre-Certification Agreement
  • If these requirements are met, you will be invited to proceed to Step 6: Certification
  • Pay curriculum usage fee, program administration and student registration fee

Step 6: Certification

Sign one-year certification agreement

  • Sign one-year Certification Agreement with the Ministry of Education. To maintain certification, you must meet the requirements in the Certification Agreement, including:
    •  Remaining in good standing with the B.C. Ministry of Education
    •  Passing an annual on-site inspection
  • Pay all annual fees and expenses