Ontario colleges open campuses in Saudi Arabia for men only

TORONTO -- Two Ontario colleges have opened campuses in Saudi Arabia that don't accept female students in their classes.

Niagara College offers tourism, hospitality and business courses at its campus in Taif, while Algonquin College offers 10 programs, including business, accounting and electrical engineering technician, at a campus in the city of Jazan.

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Ottawa-based Algonquin College announced in 2013 that it hoped to have 2,000 students at its campus in Saudi Arabia and expected to generate annual revenues of more than $25 million.

However, Algonquin public relations spokesman Phil Gaudreau refused to provide any update on the college's operations in Saudi Arabia or the exclusion of female students "other than what is already publicly available."

Niagara College spokeswoman Susan McConnell says opening a Saudi campus was an opportunity to expand access to education there and enhance its own reputation, and it expects to generate $4 million over five years from its classes in Taif.

Colleges and Universities Minister Reza Moridi says he's proud Ontario colleges are expanding their programming around the world, but his statement didn't mention that women are excluded from the courses Ontario colleges offer in Saudi Arabia.

The $15-billion sale of Ontario-made LAV3 vehicles to Saudi Arabia came under fire after the kingdom executed 47 alleged terrorists Jan. 1, but the Trudeau government says it won't cancel the deal made by the previous Conservative administration.



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