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Canada: 400 Brazilians in high school exchange

Canada has welcomed 400 Brazilians to its public schools through a scholarship programme aimed at increasing English language ability of those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Laura, a students on the Win the World, scholarship is studying English for one semester in Canada, all expenses paid

"Foreign languages skills – particularly English – are vital for increased international commerce"

The Programa Ganhe o Mundo (“Win the World programme”), run by the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, enables students from Brazilian public schools to study English for one semester (five months) in Canada, all expenses paid. New Zealand and the US are also set to receive students.

Organisers said they hope to up-skill Brazilians before the World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016. “Foreign languages skills – particularly English – are vital for increased international commerce as well as receiving tourists for these mega events,” they said.

“Traditionally, the [Brazilian] public school system has served youth from lower socio-economic classes. These students rarely have access to extracurricular English courses. Win the World was created with this challenge in mind.”

The Canadian Association of Public Schools International (CAPS-I) welcomed the programme, which has also seen 15,000 study English in Brazil, and confirmed Brazil had been “a steadily growing market for Canadian public schools for several years”.

“The enrolment of international students provides an opportunity for Canadian students”

Executive Director Bonnie McKie said: “The enrolment of international students provides an opportunity for Canadian students to learn from and with students from around the globe.

“Naturally, a portion of international student tuition fees paid supports the infrastructure and operations of public schools which is of benefit to all students.”

More generally, Canadian public schools have seen rising overseas enrolments in recent years in line with Canada’s increasing engagement with international education. There are currently 20,000 overseas students enrolled in the 88 public school districts represented by CAPS-I.

Collectively public schools also saw the “largest growth of international students from the People’s Republic of China in the last few years,” according to McKie.

This uptrend will likely continue as Canada implements its first national strategy for international education, which CAPS-I has helped formulate along with other sector bodies. Among initial recommendations laid out in consultation is a goal to double international enrolments in Canada to 500,000 by 2025.

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