Need to Focus on Foreign Students to Fuel Innovation
By A Correspondent
Our vision for Canada: become the 21st century leader in international education in order to attract top talent and prepare our citizens for the global marketplace, thereby providing key building blocks for our future prosperity.
Our value proposition: Consistent quality at a reasonable cost
Canada's brand is based on consistently high quality and a reputation for excellence across the entire education sector. Canada offers international students a safe and multicultural learning environment in which they can choose to study in English or French. Compared to other countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, Canadian tuition fees and the cost of living are quite affordable. Further, international students have the option to work during their studies and can also apply to work in Canada upon completion of their studies.
Given the growth in global demand for international education and challenges being experienced by some of our main competitors (Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States), Canada is well positioned to capitalize on this window of opportunity with the value proposition of consistently high quality at a reasonable cost. We firmly believe that maintaining high quality is paramount.
Currently, this value proposition is reinforced by the co-managed Imagine Education au/in Canada global brand and Canada's visa approval processes, but the Government of Canada must work in partnership with the provinces and territories, via the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), to reach a better understanding of existing quality-assurance mechanisms. Subsequently, a communications strategy must be developed to better convey Canada's robust approaches to quality assurance to prospective international students.
The education brand for Canada is characterized by a broad spectrum of possibilities for international students and researchers with across-the-sector quality at its core.
In our view, Canada has strong foundations in international education. Canada’s institutions offer high quality in all subsectors. Provincial/territorial jurisdiction has allowed for the development of a rich and diverse educational landscape.
For Canada to achieve its goals, we do not see the need for a major overhaul. It is clear to us that collectively, the efforts of provinces/territories, education associations and individual institutions are putting Canada on the right path. Rather, we see the need for course corrections so that we do not stray from that path. Some changes are required, mainly regarding the coordination of our promotional efforts to ensure they are cohesive and coherent, as well as more extensive use of digital strategies. Furthermore, governments, both federal and provincial/territorial, must ensure there is an alignment of education, labour market and immigration policies.
This report will highlight the many benefits of international education, both economic and societal. It is important for the panel that all Canadians embrace the benefits to Canada of international education. In the global knowledge economy, how we manage international education will affect the course of our economic prosperity as well as our
place in the world.
The panel recognizes recent Government of Canada investments related to international education, including specific funding allocations to revise the international education strategy. The extent to which Canada can seize this current moment and become a leader in international education is commensurate with the investment we, as a country, are prepared to make to support internationalization efforts at all levels.
[Source: Excerpts from Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy Final Report ]