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Saskatchewan announces international student growth strategy

The government of Saskatchewan in Canada has announced a new provincial strategy to support the growth of international students. 

Saskatchewan has announced a new provincial strategy to support the growth of international students. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Saskatchewan’s postsecondary institutions have 568 active agreements with international post-secondary partners

Saskatchewan’s strategy includes a number of initiatives related to global engagement, capacity building and leadership to attract key international student markets. 

“International education is a major contributor to the Saskatchewan economy”

It is hoped that an increase in international students will help meet labour market needs in the region and “connect the world to Saskatchewan”. 

“Saskatchewan is a global leader in research and the commercialisation of innovative technology. The recently announced International Strategy is a collaborative approach to global engagement that will increase visibility in markets to support the growth of international students in the province,” a spokesperson for the Government of Saskatchewan told The PIE.

“It also supports Saskatchewan students and post-secondary educational institutions to build and strengthen global connections, create new international research partnerships, and foster international student, faculty and researcher mobility. Institutions will be able to focus on marketing their programs, rather than the province.

“As of November 2021, our institutions have more than 1,900 international students studying in our province and many more studying from abroad. Our post-secondary education institutions are best suited to set targets around the number of international students they hope to attract based on their capacity. The international education strategy lays the foundation so that the sector is able to achieve their targets.”

Advanced education minister Gene Makowsky said that the strategy developed in partnership with the post-secondary sector will assist institutions to attract international students in innovative ways, while meeting commitments outlined in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan. 

“International education is a major contributor to the Saskatchewan economy and this strategy will help position the province as a destination of choice for international students,” Makowsky said. 

Key components of the strategy include Saskatchewan participating in international missions to support recruitment and branding efforts and fostering new international partnerships to promote education and research opportunities.

Saskatchewan will also develop a new International Education Practitioner Program to support a provincial approach on training throughout the sector that will provide students with a consistent experience.

Other measures include supporting the growth and sustainability of French post-secondary programs in Saskatchewan through targeted recruitment in key French language markets.

“Saskatchewan’s strong network of eight international trade and investment offices will be key to supporting this significant strategy around the world,” trade and export development minister Jeremy Harrison said. 

“Taking Saskatchewan to the world and bringing the world to Saskatchewan helps increase exports and attract investment, and it further positions our province as a leader in international education and research opportunities, creating jobs and driving economic growth in communities right across the province.”

“The global relationships established by Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions provide a strong foundation to strengthen relationships”

The regional government will also be launching the Saskatchewan Student Ambassador Program in early 2022 to enhance the study abroad experience for students and their families. 

A ‘Discover Saskatchewan’ learning opportunity will be offered to prospective international students, families and agents in the summer of 2022.

International students play a part in commitments outlined in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan, which seeks to strengthen Saskatchewan’s trade relationships through the province’s international education strategy. 

“The global relationships established by Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions provide a strong foundation to strengthen relationships between our international trading partners while advancing Saskatchewan’s international education strategy,” the growth strategy said.  

“Between the province’s two universities and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatchewan’s postsecondary institutions have 568 active agreements with international post-secondary partners.”

The growth plan highlighted how Saskatchewan’s ‘strategic advantage’ as a destination of choice for international students could be leveraged to further solidify important trade relationships in key markets. 

“Connecting our students to international opportunities will help to advance the province’s trading relationships while equipping the next generation of Saskatchewan students with global experiences they can bring home and use to innovate and grow Saskatchewan’s economy,” the growth plan said.  

As part of the growth plan Saskatchewan will work closely with post-secondary partners to build international opportunities to advance and commercialise research in areas where Saskatchewan institutions are global leaders.

These include medical isotopes and nuclear medicine, vaccines, carbon capture and storage, additive manufacturing, precision agriculture, plant genomics and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Back in 2015, Saskatchewan unveiled an international education strategy that aimed to increase the number of post-secondary level international students coming into the province by 75% by 2020.

The three-tiered Post-Secondary International Education Strategy also includes plans to increase outgoing student numbers by 50% and foster more global research collaborations. 

Advanced education minister at the time, Kevin Doherty, said the province will need 60,000 workers by 2020 to fill retirements and new opportunities.

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