Passport. Photo © J Aaron FarrTheir very name indicates admission or entrance. A passport—from the French passer la porte, or pass through a port—is a document that allows a person to pass from one country to another, from world to another, even from life to another.

We’ve heard of two instances in the last month in which people have tried to use such documents to gain entrance to new countries, new worlds, new lives.  Just days after officials determined that two passengers aboard Malaysian Airlines flight 370 had been traveling under stolen passports, police in London, Ontario, arrested three people for allegedly using fake passports to write exams on behalf of other students.

The incidents are of different orders of magnitude in terms of potential threat, but both events indicate the power of these small documents to open doors and allow passage.

No evidence exists to suggest the two men who boarded flight MH 370 with stolen passports had anything to do with the airplane’s later disappearance. Investigations indicate the Iranians travelling as Christian Kozel of Austria and Luigi Maraldi of Italy had no known links to terrorist organizations, and may have just been trying to get out of Malaysia. Both passports had been listed in INTERPOL’s database of stolen passports. It may be we will never know the truth in this story.

The story of the surrogate students caught using fraudulent passports in Ontario is clearer, however. They were writing English proficiency exams for foreign students applying to attend university in Canada. Canadian colleges and universities use the exams to evaluate prospective students’ ability to read and write in the language of instruction. Students must pass the exams before their applications are accepted….

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

Young girl in nature. Photo © Julie Morris,

Nature schools are popping up like mushrooms around here. The preschools and kindergartens immerse kids in local parks and green spaces for half-days and full-days at a time. The kids play outside. They stay outside. They learn about plants and animals, they look at bugs and pond critters, they make friends with trees.

Colwood’s Sangster Elementary program started the trend. Parents have even camped out overnight to register their children in the program.

Saanich’s preschool at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary started September fully booked, and takes advantage of nature programs offered by sanctuary education staff. The Cridge Centre also started a nature preschool this year. Kiddie Kapers operates out of Commonwealth Recreation Centre, and Victoria Nature School runs out of Mount Doug park and Gordon Head Recreation Centre.

Programs like these put the kinder into the garten — the child into nature. They capitalize on the benefits of being active and outdoors on kids’ mental, physical and emotional health and development….

Read the rest of this editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist….

Child on park boardwalk. Photo © Richard Step,

School kids in the 21st century, by Maryland GovPics


Those of us who grew up in the last century heard all about how easy we had it.

The tirade usually began, “When I was your age …” and continued with the Facts of Life.

These included:

“I had to be up at 3 a.m. to get to school on time. And that was after staying up until 4 a.m. to finish my after-school chores and homework.”

“I had to walk 12 miles to school everyday … through blizzards … uphill. Both ways!”

“We had only one pair of shoes for all of us kids. Every day, two of us got to wear one shoe.”

Continue reading…. 


Sources for this post include:

CBC’s report on students failing simple geography quizzes

Vancouver Sun: Issues with BC-certified international school in China

Vancouver Sun: New rules for BC-certified international schools