Celebrating International Education Week in B.C.

Amrik Virk Photo by Chandra Bodalia
Amrik Virk
Photo by Chandra Bodalia


AS the world prepares for International Education Week, a growing number of international students are seeking the benefits of learning and living in B.C.

Under B.C.’s International Education Strategy, the province is celebrating a thriving international education sector. Today there are about 112,800 international students in B.C. – an increase of almost 20% over the last three years.

The Government of British Columbia says it’s on track to meet the BC Jobs Plan target to increase international students studying in B.C. by 50% by 2016. Welcoming more international students will cultivate greater opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges for B.C. students, and create substantial positive economic growth for the province.

B.C. hosts almost one-third of all international students in Canada. To encourage open dialogue with international students, the Government of B.C. launched the second International Student Survey this month. Survey results will be used by the government and post-secondary institutions to enhance the study experience of international students. The survey will conclude in December and the final report will be released later in 2015.

In October, Premier Christy Clark and Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk traveled to India with representatives from post-secondary institutions to promote B.C. as a high-quality education destination and to continue building strong education partnerships that support the two-way flow of students and ideas. The mission resulted in new educational partnerships, including the agreement between the University of British Columbia and Punjab University to establish a teacher and student exchange program. The Premier also announced funding for 20 new scholarships that support the exchange of students between the University of the Fraser Valley and Sanatan Dharma College in Chandigarh, India.

The International Student Survey and the momentum gained by the India trade mission are just two ways the B.C. government is working to increase international education opportunities. These provincial efforts are not going unrecognized; two of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions, one private institution and one student leader will be receiving awards of excellence from the Canadian Bureau for International Education this week.

In May 2012, as part of the BC Jobs Plan, government officially launched British Columbia’s International Education Strategy, which promotes the global exchange of students, educators and ideas between countries. The strategy was developed to position the province and its residents to benefit even more from the social, cultural and economic opportunities that flow from international education activities.

Virk said on Monday: “The growth in international students is exciting for the province, and I am proud of the success of the education sector. British Columbia is a world-class destination for international students who bring economic, cultural and social benefits to our campuses and communities.”

Capilano University President Dr. Kris Bulcroft said: “Capilano University’s international enrollment increased by 20% in fall of 2014 over 2013. Students from around the world choose Capilano University for its distinctive programs and industry and community connections. International students enrich our classes by providing an intercultural learning and teaching experience for all students and faculty. A global perspective is one important facet of a career-ready Capilano graduate.”

B.C.’s international education sector provides valuable social and cultural opportunities for educational institutions, students and communities throughout the province.

The presence of international students in classrooms provides B.C. students with opportunities to be exposed to other languages, cultures and new ways of thinking.

International education generates significant economic growth and local job opportunities while fostering research and innovation

By the numbers:

* 112,800 – the number of international students studying at all levels in B.C.

* $2.3 billion – the amount international students spent provincewide.

* $1.63 billion – the amount international education contributed to B.C.’s GDP.

* 25,500 – the number of jobs generated as a result of international education.

* $80 million – the estimated revenue to government from international education.

Quick facts:

* The top five countries with students studying in all levels are: China (25,800), Korea (14,000), Japan (12,900), Brazil (9,100) and Saudi Arabia (7,000).

* The top five countries sending students to B.C. to study at the post-secondary level are: China (19,100), India (4,600), Saudi Arabia (3,000), the U.S. (2,500) and Korea (2,300).

* The top five countries sending students to study at private language schools in B.C. are: Japan (9,900), Korea (8,500), Brazil (8,400), Saudi Arabia (4,000) and Mexico (2,600).

* The top five countries whose students are enrolled in B.C.’s elementary and secondary schools are: China (4,300), Korea (3,200), Japan (700), Mexico (700) and Germany (600).