“Canada is increasingly an education destination of choice for top university students around the world,” said AUCC in a statement, adding that the “the overall upward trend in enrolment demonstrates the value that students continue to put on higher education in Canada”.
Canada is working to build on its appeal as a study destination and will soon release its first national strategy for international education. Recommendations put forward in consultation include almost doubling the number of international students studying in Canada within 10 years from 239,000 to around 450,000.
Government figures from July of this year show that international education already contributes CAN$8 billion in spending to the economy, 81,000 jobs and more than CAN$445 million in government revenue. Canada is the sixth largest study destination after France and Germany, according to the OECD, but could climb as top destinations such as the UK, Australia and the US face currency or visa issues.
“Moving the country up the international student recruitment league table occupies minds”
“There is a perception among the main HE exporters that Canada has upped its game and is now a ‘player’ in HE internationalisation,” head of the Observatory of Borderless Higher Education, Dr William Lawton, commented this month. “Moving the country up the international student recruitment league table occupies minds.”
AUCC heralded international education as a key driver to Canada’s future prosperity and educators say the rise in international enrolments is also beneficial for domestic students.
“The presence of students from around the globe on Canadian campuses enriches the education experience for all students,” said Paul Davidson, president of AUCC.
“Living and learning alongside students with different perspectives, languages and cultures helps Canadian students develop the international awareness in demand by today’s employers.”
The boost in numbers could help alleviate fears from earlier this year that the closure of visa offices abroad would negatively affect educators’ ability to attract foreign students. Agents have complained of severe visa delays when placing students in Canada.