International education strategy is welcome news to Ontario universities

Ontario universities welcomed the release of a national strategy for international education that recognizes the important contribution that international students make to our prosperity, the excellence of our institutions in providing quality education at a reasonable cost, and the need for alignment and collaboration of all levels of government in doubling the number of full-time international students within 10 years.

A report was released today outlining the strategy, developed by the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, which was led by Western University President, Dr. Amit Chakma.

“Ontario universities are committed to working with our governments to ensure the success of this strategy, which is as important in giving domestic students a global experience as it is to attracting the talent that Ontario and Canada need to innovate, diversify and globalize,” says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Guelph.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that global demand for international education is about to grow from nearly 3.7 million students (in 2009) to 6.4 million in 2025. At the same time, numerous studies indicate that Canada will experience a severe shortage of highly skilled labour within the decade. International recruitment strategies targeting both quantity and quality are needed to address Canada’s future shortfalls, the report says, and adds that international students represent a desirable source of qualified immigrants and those who return to their home countries become partners in future commercial and political relations.

The strategy calls for enhanced promotion of the Canadian educational brand, further investment in international scholarships, improvement of educational visa processing, and national coordination of provincial and institutional efforts through a new national council.

“Our universities remain committed to bringing the best and the brightest to Ontario, and we will continue to ensure that we play a critical role in the pipeline of talent to the labour market and the enriched experience for our domestic students,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, President and CEO of COU.


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