Canada wants more foreign students enrolling in universities across the country to expand its presence overseas, boost classroom diversity and reap enhanced economic advantages that account for billions annually. Canada is planning to attract more foreign students in the coming years and has allocated nearly $148 million of funding in its federal budget to boost international student numbers in the country.
The economic benefits of international students doubled in Canada between 2010 and 2016, when they touched a total of $15.5 billion, ranging from tuition fees to renting places and buying groceries, per the findings of a federal analysis. The document also revealed that the sector led to the provision of 170,000 jobs in 2016 alone and contributed more to the economy than Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber and aircraft.
Canada has been an attractive study destination for international students for years. In 2000, more than 122,665 valid study permits were issued, per the federal numbers. This number reached to 572,415 in 2018, marking an increase of almost 467 percent. According to the statistics revealed by Universities Canada full-time foreign student enrolment at the varsities increased by 15 percent across the country between 2017 and 2018.
Majority of international students in Canada hailed from China and India, while in recent years more upsurges were witnessed from developing and fast-growing economies such as Vietnam. Officials of the federal government, colleges and universities are now planning to develop an aligned strategy through which they aim at expanding their education campaigns in other nooks and corners of the world. President of Universities Canada Paul Davidson said he expected the country to endorse itself as a popular study destination with large populace constituting of youngsters from expanding and fast-growing economies such as Colombia and Africa.
“We’re looking at where in the world there is a growing middle-class demand for higher education, a place where Canada has got linkages and connections,” said Davidson, whose organization is the representative body of almost 96 institutions in the country.
The foreign student enrolment growth came despite a diplomatic clash between Saudi Arabia and Canada, last August. The Saudi government suspended their diplomatic linkages with Canada, barred their ambassador and recalled its envoy to Ottawa after being criticised on Twitter by the Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her department on the alleged arrest of social activists by the Saudi authorities. They also ordered thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada to return back home. However, diplomatic efforts by the authorities and the education community helped in diminishing the impact of the diplomatic tussle.
Canada’s International Trade Minister Jim Carr said: “We believe that international students add value to our communities, that they experience Canada’s fine institutions and take with them an appreciation of who we are as Canadians. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they go back to their home countries and become, really, ambassadors for Canada.”
Denise Amyot, president and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, said “foreign students bring new perspectives that help their Canadian classmates better understand the world. Their higher tuition fees strengthen institutions and ensure a wider choice of programs are offered for all students”.