THE first B.C. offshore school in Japan was the highlight of International Education Week celebrations at the B.C. Legislature today as Education Minister Peter Fassbender welcomed Seiji Okada, Consul General of Japan in Vancouver, and a group of Japanese students from Victoria High School.
Bunka Gakuen University Suginami Junior and Senior High School in Tokyo is set to offer the B.C. curriculum in 2015. It is anticipated 20 students will enter the program in the first year with enrolment expecting to triple in the first three years.
At the event, Fassbender took the opportunity to emphasize the social, cultural and economic benefits international students bring to communities throughout B.C., as well as the advantages of B.C.’s growing Offshore Schools Program. Since the program was established in 1998, the B.C. curriculum is now offered in 43 offshore schools, in eight countries catering to more than 10,300 students.
The B.C. Offshore Schools Program looks to foster relationships with educational partners around the world by promoting B.C.’s world-class education system. A key goal is to develop and strengthen cultural and economic ties with other countries while creating more pathways for international students to come to B.C. to study in both our K-12 and post-secondary systems.
Nearly 13,000 students from Japan are studying in B.C. across all levels – 700 of whom are in the K-12 sector.
Fassbender said: “We truly live in a global community and introducing students to different languages, cultures and ideas – both here at home and abroad – is key for them to develop into responsible citizens. B.C. is recognized as a leader in education and we will continue to work with countries around the world to promote our world-class programs and attract students to our shores.”
Okada said: “The Government of Japan welcomes the initiative of the BC Offshore Schools Program. The Government of Japan also aims to further the globalization of secondary and post-secondary education. The beginning of the BC Offshore Schools Program in Japan will not only contribute to enhancing the globalization of Japanese education, it will also help to strengthen the ties between Japan and B.C.”
* The Ministry of Education is working with its partners in the education sector to promote B.C’s world-class K-12 system internationally. A goal of the International Education Strategy is to increase the number of international students coming to B.C. by 50% by 2015-16.
* In 2013-14, more than 11,000 international students were enrolled in 49 B.C. public school districts and more than 3,000 international students were enrolled in approximately 100 independent schools.
* There are currently 41 B.C. offshore schools in operation – 32 in China, five in South Korea and one in Thailand, Egypt, Qatar and Columbia respectively. Schools in India and Japan will begin to offer the program in 2015.
* Students who graduate from B.C. offshore schools receive a Dogwood Diploma. They can then enter B.C.’s post-secondary system, making strong contributions to B.C.’s international education sector.
* Historically, approximately 200 students per year who graduate from a B.C. offshore school go on to attend a B.C. post-secondary institute.
* Japan ranked third as a destination of B.C. origin exports in 2013 with 12.1% of B.C.’s commodity exports shipped there.
* B.C. leads Canadian provinces in trade with Japan – $4 billion of Canada’s $10.5 billion in exports to Japan in 2012. B.C.’s exports to Japan are two-times higher than the next leading province.
* Japan was B.C.’s fifth-largest international market in terms of direct customs entries in 2011 (86,000 visitors in 2011).