The twofold Learning Beyond Borders initiative invites educational institutions to both participate in the promotion of study abroad to Canadian students and other stakeholders; and to devise action plans to remove barriers to study abroad on their own campuses.
“It’s such an important conversation for Canadians to have at all levels of learning”
Launched at the association’s 50th anniversary conference last week in Ottawa, CBIE’s CEO and president, Karen McBride, invited institutions to become “champions for change” to boost the stubbornly low proportion of Canadian students studying abroad.
A recent survey by CBIE of more than 7,000 students identified that cost is the biggest perceived barrier to study abroad. However, it showed that attitudes towards studying overseas and elements of institutional policy and practice are also hindering outbound mobility.
“Our strategic plan really calls on us to leverage our national role to help our institutions crack this hard nut of Canadian students going abroad,” McBride told The PIE News.
Institutions have been asked to formally commit to the initiative by January 2017, and to identify a three- to five-point action plan to remove barriers to study abroad by the end of February.
CBIE will coordinate the project on a national level, creating content and factsheets to support the launch; sharing partners’ content across its website and social channels; promoting research and and best practice.
The campaign has the backing of Governor General David Johnston, the reigning monarch’s official representative in Canada, who will convene a national roundtable of representatives from the worlds of both education, business and provincial and federal governments.
“We think that’ll be a fabulous way to incentivise and convince thought leaders, political leaders, corporate leaders of the importance of this issue for our country’s long term prosperity and role in the world,” McBride said.
The Governor General will also record a video encouraging Canadian students to study abroad. CBIE hopes more politicians and prominent Canadians will also join the effort.
Speaking at the conference in Ottawa, Johnston called the campaign “a welcome and wonderful initiative”.
“I’m so looking forward to hosting [the roundtable]. It’s such an important conversation for Canadians to have at all levels of learning.”