Monday, September 22, 2008

Canadians have not studied the Daejin University model of overseas branch campus development

"Chapter III, Towards a New Asia-Pacific Policy for Canada" (2003),outlines the Subcommittee's recommendations on steps Canada can take to further develop its economic relationship with the Asia-Pacific region. These are divided into three categories. The first addresses the importance of removing the barriers to trade and investment with the region. The second outlines a number of broad suggestions which, although not directly related to trade and investment, create an enabling environment in which to more effectively pursue closer economic ties. Finally, recognizing that it is the business community that drives trade and investment, the third section examines the role that the federal government can play in helping the Canadian business community succeed in Asia-Pacific."


Education Services

Over the course of the Subcommittee’s travels, by far the most frequent topic of discussion was the opportunities available to Canada in the education services sector. In every country we visited, witnesses spoke unprompted about the potential for Canadian post-secondary institutions to benefit from the large numbers of Asian students seeking western educations.

We repeatedly heard that allowing greater numbers of foreign students from Asia-Pacific to study in Canada would be a good way to promote future trade and investment. Witnesses generally agreed that when those foreign students return to their home country, they take with them knowledge of Canadian institutions, industries, products and expertise, as well as of our culture and the values of Canadian society. Indeed, the Subcommittee met or heard of many high-level government and business leaders — particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong — who were educated in Canada and spoke very highly of their experience.

In some countries, we heard frustration expressed at the small number of students admitted to universities in Canada, while in others, Canada is a major destination for foreign students. Currently, Canada hosts large numbers of foreign students from China and South Korea, but relatively few from India and Southeast Asia. However, most witnesses thought that Canada could do significantly more to attract foreign students from all across the region.

The United States and the United Kingdom (UK) are the long-established destinations for Asian students wishing to pursue a western-style education, while Australia has been very aggressive in promoting itself as a destination for foreign students. The number of such students in Australia has more than tripled since 1990. Australia now has the second-highest proportion of foreign students of any country in the world, behind Switzerland only. By contrast, Canada has not seen any significant growth in the number of foreign students in recent years.

Witnesses were divided as to whether or not Canada should vigorously pursue attracting more foreign students or, alternatively, set up overseas branches of Canadian institutions. Most saw the provision of education services as an industry with tremendous growth potential for Canada. A minority disagreed, however, stating that Australia had already cornered the market for a western-style education in Asia. Many also believed that Australia has a significant advantage in terms of relative proximity to Asia, despite the fact that for countries like Japan and South Korea, Western Canada is no further away. Still other witnesses reminded the Subcommittee of the fact that, as a matter of provincial jurisdiction, it is difficult for the federal government to make policies in matters of post-secondary education.

The Subcommittee is of the opinion that the opportunities for the Canadian education services sector in Asia are significant and should not be overlooked. Not only do post-secondary institutions benefit from the increase in revenues and international profile that foreign students offer, but providing foreign students with a Canadian education forges an indelible link between those students and Canada. These links can help pave the way for future economic and political co-operation.

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