British Columbia strategy to double overseas students
May 31, 2012
British Columbia has unveiled an International Education Strategy that aims to attract an additional 47,000 students to the province over the next four years, encourages BC students to study abroad, and provides CAN$5 million* for scholarships and internships.
Mount Baker at sunset from Victoria, Vancouver Island Photo: Shutterstock
The plan targets a 50 per cent increase over the estimated current figure of 94,000 international students by 2015/2016. Private language schools are expected to provide 45 per cent of the growth: an additional 21,500 students. Public post-secondary institutions are targeted to provide 30 per cent of the growth, with 12 per cent expected to come from private post-secondary institutions, and 13 per cent from the K-12 secondary sector.
Naomi Yamamoto, BC Minister of Advanced Education, said, “Everyone benefits from the cultural diversity international students bring to our campuses and communities, and from the perspectives and connections gained by BC students studying in other countries.”
Of the CAN$5 million earmarked for scholarship schemes, CAN$2.3 million will be given to the Mitacs Accelerate programme, which supports B.C. and international students in graduate study and industry internships in the province. Approximately CAN$2 million will be pledged to the One World International Scholarship programme, which helps BC students to study abroad. A further CAN$700,000 will be channelled to the Mitacs Globalink scheme, helping international students participate in research internships in BC.
The strategy document outlines goals to create a globally oriented education system, ensure quality learning, and maximise benefits for BC communities, families and businesses. Specific plans include developing a coordinated marketing strategy, creating a new quality assurance framework, and posting dedicated education officers to overseas trade and investment offices.”
The International Education Strategy is part of the regional government’s Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan. The document states that currently BC receives around 28 per cent of Canada’s international students, bringing CAN$1.8 billion into the province. The strategy predicts that each 10 per cent increase in students would lead to an extra CAN$100 million GDP and an additional 1,800 jobs for the province.
*At the time of writing, CAN$1 = US$0.97