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BC, Canada in push to expand international student sector

British Columbia has launched an International Education Strategy that aims to increase the number of international students in the province by 50% over four years in order to fill a huge gap in the workforce. In addition, Advanced Education Minister, Naomi Yamamoto, announced CAN$5 million for scholarships and research internships to support students and faculty abroad.

The educational sector makes up 7% of exports from the province

Naomi Yamamoto Minister of Advanced Education announced CAN$5 million for scholarships and research internships abroad

In 2010, international students in BC spent $1.8 billion on tuition, accommodation and other living expenses, creating almost 22,000 jobs and generating $66 million in government revenue.

The province stands to gain an estimated 1,800 jobs and $100 million in GDP for every 10% increase in the number of international students coming to the province.

“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,” said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education.

The province stands to gain an estimated 1,800 jobs for every 10% increase in international students

The strategy, developed under the Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, identifies three major goals: create a globally oriented education system in BC; ensure that all students receive quality learning and life experiences; and maximise the social, cultural and economic benefits of international education  for all communities, families and businesses.

The province is especially keen to fill the gap in the workforce with international skilled workers. Over the next decade there will be a million job openings in BC but there are just 650,000 domestic students currently enrolled in its kindergarten to grade 12 education system.

The strategy states that it will specifically target students from the US, China, Brazil, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, Germany, Russia, Japan, France and India based on their population, English proficiency level and trade/investment priority markets.

Over the next decade there will be a million job openings in BC but there are just 650,000 domestic students

Canada receives about 4% of the 3.3 million students studying abroad. BC is the destination for about 28% of students who come to Canada to study. The educational sector makes up 7% of exports from the province.

“As I found out on my two recent Jobs and Trade Missions, first to China and India and then to Japan, Korea and the Philippines, there is growing excitement about the possibilities for international education to strengthen the ties that exist between us,” said British Columbia Premier, Christy Clark.

“With this International Education Strategy, British Columbia, its students, families and communities are poised to benefit from deeper connections to the global economy and the global community.”

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