Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Robertson Boardroom, 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa
June 16, 2011, 09:00 am – 4:30 pm
Chair: Claire Poulin
Director, International Education & Youth Division, DFAIT
Deputy Chair: Jean-Philippe Tachdjian
Deputy Director, Edu-Canada, DFAIT
Claire Poulin, Director, International Education & Youth Division, DFAIT
Welcome to the National Education Marketing Roundtable (NEMR). This is my second NEMR, and it is also the last one for my colleague Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, who will be leaving us for Washington, where he will be Senior Trade Commissioner. I want to thank him for his great contribution over the last 7 years to International Education.
This is a very special NEMR, as we have just returned from the Association on International Educators (NAFSA) conference in Vancouver. It is an important event which we were fortunate to host in Canada. It was one of the biggest NAFSAs ever with 9000 participants; the Canadian pavilion was very visible and busy – in general it was a great success! On top of NAFSA, there were a number of key events, such as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAIE) and the 3rd International Roundtable on the Integrity of International Education. We also had a consultation organized by Edu-Canada with the provincial governments, associations and institutions, for Trade Commissioners to understand your needs as clients of the Trade Commissioner Service and to be able to better promote your provinces and institutions on the international level at conferences and fairs abroad.
These are interesting times, as the Budget 2011 was tabled with specific mention of international education. Our goal is to harmonize our approach to attract young talent to Canada to study and find a high caliber of education. Our approach needs to support partnerships to ensure globalization is positive for the next generation. Mobility of knowledge is important, Canada must present itself as the country for studies, research, and education.
Today our meeting will be centered on these key themes. I hope these consultations will help us develop a strategy that is very clear and targeted. At NAFSA, we consulted by sectors, and in today’s agenda, we will brainstorm on themes based on the language of the Budget. All the themes from the sector consultations and this session will be shared with an Advisory Panel, that will make recommendations to the Ministers of Finance and International Trade.
We are working to improve our bilateral relations with countries such as Mexico, India and China. In May, Canada participated in meetings in Paris with the presidents of the G8 and G20 to raise the profile of international education. Our Ministers and Deputy Ministers are visiting China, a reciprocal visit following the visit of a Chinese delegation to Canada in September 2010. Carleton University is hosting the Canada-India Summit, attended by the Minister responsible for Higher education in India, and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs is delivering the opening speech. Those are only a few examples of activities that show the momentum we have.
There were no comments presented on the Agenda or the Minutes of the December 2010 NEMR.
Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, Deputy Director, Edu-Canada (DFAIT)
To summarize our current situation: you may remember that a few years ago, Canada did not really have any profile in international education. We thought it was important for Canada to have a strategy in international education, since international students contribute $6.5 billion to the economy according to a 2009 report. We will be updating the study this summer and will present another report in the fall – we think we are up to $8 billion now. When Edu-Canada started, Canada did not have a strategy, brand, support, and our embassies did not have any leadership. We were losing market share and we had to do better. The Edu-Canada initiative was announced in 2007, and there were several small announcements that did not seem important individually (the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, changes to immigration rules), but there is a strategy behind them, to attract the best and the brightest.
I am very proud of the work we and our provincial partners did to create our brand logo-type.
This year, we had the best pavilion at NAFSA, and there are a number of conferences where Canada is present and seen as the best pavilion. DFAIT worked with CBIE, CONAHEC and IOHE to create a new conference for the Americas, the Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAIE). We have also worked with CBIE to create a series of annual education forums, and we are very pleased that this year, the Canada-Arab Education Forum will be held in Ottawa.
Agent training is another important area we have worked on. We are attending the ICEF agent workshops, presenting and offering training to agents at conferences and at Canadian embassies around the world, particularly in places like Brazil, China, Korea and Japan.
Let’s talk about schools abroad: in 2006, there were 58 K-12 institutions teaching the curriculum of a Canadian province abroad. Now we have 72 that are using Canadian curriculum. We hope we will expand through the world, the main reason being that a number of graduates of these schools choose to continue studying in Canada. All 70 schools teach in English as a primary language of instruction, which does not reflect the linguistic duality of Canada – there is less access for students to francophone institutions. We are proud that a French language school opening in Morocco in September 2011, using the New Brunswick curriculum.
In 2004 we had 14 missions and a budget of $100,000. In 2011-2012, we are up to 95 active missions abroad, doing at least one activity related to education promotion. 123 missions have an education officer.
In previous years people have said the big events are more for undergraduate and college students rather than graduate students. We now have the China PhD workshop and some events in India, and events like the Masterbeurs in the Netherlands which is directly aimed at graduate students. We are at the Paris Air Show to promote Canada’s aerospace sector, and we also developed the sector brochures for aerospace and other sectors.
What are the results of Edu-Canada? There are 218,243 international students in Canada – a 28% increase in the last four years. Our goal was 20% in five years and we have surpassed it in only four years. Edu-Canada was a pilot program. We have succeeded in meeting our objectives. Seven years ago, education was not even considered a sector. Now we are a priority of the Department.
The best way to describe what we were doing is “stewardship”. Steward can mean servant, or caretaker, for which I have had the privilege to serve this industry. I am very proud of what the Edu-Canada team has achieved. At this point, I wanted to take time for any questions.
Q: Yves Beaudin (CICIC) You talked about statistics earlier in one of the slides, an increase of 55% in visits to the website. My question is if we say 55%, that’s very impressive, but do you have the actual figure of the number of hits?
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) I do not have it with me, but we follow the web trends regularly, and I could get it and send it to you.
Q: Dr. Smita Sengupta (CAPS-I) Could you name the missions that have the 10 full time education officers, or send us the information?
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) Korea has 2 (K-12 & languages and postsecondary), Japan, China has more than 2, Beijing, Abu Dhabi, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Paris, Washington.
Q: Dr. Gary Slater (CAGS) You showed us the increase of international students. Could we have an idea of what has happened in the graduate sector, etc.?
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) Unfortunately I do not have that figure. CIC will be here later, you can ask them. The problem is that CIC does not make the distinction between undergraduate and graduate, but we do know there is about 52% in university, 17% in K-12, only 4-5% in language studies. There are a lot more who sign up for language studies but it is usually less than 6 months, so they do not need a study permit. The rest would be in colleges or apprenticeship studies.
Q: Tom Tunney (WUSC) I’m wondering with the impressive 28% increase, are we gaining ground in market share?
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) The most recent numbers are the 2008 UNESCO market share which told us 5%, we are waiting for new numbers as of 2010.
C: Gonzalo Peralta (Languages Canada) Preliminary numbers from 2009 reflected a 14.8% increase, the big jump being in the last year. Comparing to global numbers, it is exactly the same market share, not necessarily increasing. The big jump is happening now, these things do not happen overnight. My prediction is that in these upcoming years, the huge shift for us from the Languages Canada perspective is the incredible work that is happening now in the missions. So this is the time when it really starts ramping up, so I will send you the reports this year and the year after. I am eager to see 2010 as well, given Canada’s position and interest around the world.
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) When you build a house you start with the foundation – in 2006, we did not have very much, it was just a log cabin. From 2007-2011 we built a foundation, and now we are putting on the roof, and once the roof is on we will have something very sturdy we can use. What you are seeing here, I believe, is building the foundation, which is mostly underground, so you do not see it much, but now you are seeing the walls coming up.
C: Robert White (AUCC) The wind is buffeting our house. I agree with what Gonzalo was saying, the potential is there, but it will only happen if we keep our foot on the gas and keep building, which is why we argued so hard for the budget funding. The winds are backing Australia and their renewed marketing campaign and other aspects, it’s hard to say where the US is going but it is going to continue growing exponentially, and with regional hubs in Asia/China as well.
C: Claire Poulin (DFAIT) We will move to the second part of the presentation, looking at the future, which is important.
Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) The budget presented on June 6 allocated $10 millionm over two years to develop and implement an international education strategy that will reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research. Elements of the strategy will include promotion and advertising initiatives; strengthening of international representation in key markets; and the development and dissemination of market intelligence for institutions. It talks about colleges and universities, but that does not mean we want to deny the importance of language schools and K-12 – these are important pathways, and we will continue to work with them to bring more students into Canada and feed them into the postsecondary system. A new part, which we did not expect originally, is the Advisory Panel. Our understanding is the panel will be comprised of 5 to 7 eminent people to be named in the near future, who will listen to the sector’s views over the fall and report to Ministers of International Trade and Finance by the end of December 2011; Edu-Canada will serve as the Secretariat for the Advisory Panel and will prepare an initial thought piece for the panel to begin its deliberations. The consultations we had in Vancouver and that we will be doing today will feed into the material we present to the Advisory Panel. The panel will also consult the sector and make recommendations on their own, but they will not be experts on education marketing, so they will need some background information.
In terms of our representation abroad, the closure of CECN threw us for a loop. Do those types of offices abroad help us? How can these be used to help outward mobility? You cannot have offices everywhere, so what do we do in those other places, for example in places like Tunis where we don’t have an office? What is the embassy’s role where we have an office and where we don’t? Finally, collaboration between Canadian and foreign institutions. What is Edu-Canada’s role? We have done well so far with the signature events, but what do we do next? What more can we do to disseminate market intelligence?
To conclude, we are entering a new phase. I mentioned that we built the foundation with the Edu-Canada initiative, we set out the vision, the new phase will be focused on implementation – we will need a more sophisticated approach that requires a different set of skills, more focused on management.
C: Tom Tunney (WUSC) Just one comment, over the last 5 years, I’ve watched this house being built, and I must say it’s really been impressive work, so I must say thank you Jean-Philippe for this impressive work, you will be missed.
C: Claire Poulin (DFAIT) Yes, thank you JP. New blood can be stimulating, we must move forward in building this house.
Geneviève Gougeon, Brand Manager, Edu-Canada
Phase 1 of the brand use: as you know, our brand is a trademark, so the Government of Canada owns an official trademark in 90 countries, but we signed a master license with CMEC to allow them to sign sublicenses with institutions. Since 2008, the brand has been registered as an official trademark. Phase 2: eligible institutions have starting using the brand in the fall of 2009. Phase 3: as of 2010, the Federal-Provincial Consultative Committee on Education-Related International Activities (FPCCERIA) has begun reviewing the use of the brand in other sectors – Private Career Colleges and flight schools accredited by Canada.
The eligibility policy ensures that only institutions representing the high quality of Canadian education can use the brand. The number of eligible institutions has risen because of the recent inclusion of the language schools. There are several brand authorized NGOs as well, but I would like to see more regional associations using the brand.
A few highlights from the Student Pulse 2011 survey. It is an international study to examine the points of view of foreign students on the branding of Canada. 14,000 students participated in the web surveys. If you would like to see the full study I can send that to you. We bought the results from i-graduate.
Canada is ranked 4th after the US, UK and Australia, same as the study done in 2007, but we are now very close to Australia. In 2007 we were told that the UK was not “fun, cool, and hip” in social environment (lifestyle), but this study showed us that the UK ranked first, followed closely by Canada – in 2007 we were seen as boring, why did that change? The US has a much stronger culture draw with respect to its education quality. It is very hard to compete with that, but we have to put emphasis on the quality of Canadian education. We have to use alumni testimonies – one of our advisors told us one of the strongest sources of information is when a student returns to their hometown and talks about their great experience in Canada. It attracts a lot more students.
Q: Gonzalo Peralta (Langues Canada) My first question is a point of clarification, the 14,000 students surveyed, are they students who came to Canada or who never came?
A: Geneviève (DFAIT) I don’t know if they came or not, that question was never asked.
C: Gonzalo (Languages Canada) On the previous presentation, I have two comments on the brand and eligibility/authorization. I know it’s the provinces’ responsibility in terms of authorization, but I’d like to point out a couple of things. I’d like to preface this by saying that there are processes that need to be followed, particularly in Ontario. With full recognition of that, there is a very negative impact when authorization is delayed for one sector such as languages or K-12. First of all, you don’t have the number of institutions participating so you cannot have the same result. Another effect is that at this moment, all of our institutions are printing their material for the next round of promotions, so delaying the authorization means delaying use of the brand for a year or more. Another thing I wanted to point out, by being accepted into the brand, we have been able to participate in a number of Edu-Canada webinars. I can’t tell you how important these webinars are, giving Trade Commissioners access to the sector representatives. We would request that CIC and the provinces make use of a similar system, because many of the Trade Commissioners attending NAFSA said this was one of the best things that has happened. Relating back to the study from i-graduate, Languages Canada is commissioning a study from i-graduate regarding student perception and satisfaction. This will benchmark each institution and region, in both official languages, and may also see what we will be doing at a provincial level. It’s also possible for the other sectors – I know in Ontario there’s already a project underway for that, but I encourage all the other provinces to encourage institutions in your area to undertake these research activities.
Q: Michelle Beaton (CIS (CHEC)) A question with respect to the US counsellor infokit that’s in development, I was wondering if you will be consulting with institutions that have experience recruiting US students.
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) As soon as we have a draft, we will consult with institutions.
Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, Deputy Director, Edu-Canada
Lise Pedersen, Co-Chair of the Canada Special Interest Group of NAFSA
Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) NAFSA in 2006 marked the first Canada pavilion. When NAFSA came to Montreal, we had a significant presence. Since then, we have improved and enlarged the Canadian pavilion. In Vancouver, we had a large Map of Canada, colour coded to match the provincial booths and information in the passports handed out. In terms of scholarships, the Vanier, Banting, Fulbright and ELAP were all promoted. The Canadian pavilion was complimented as beautiful, lively, and well-organized.
Lise (NAFSA): The Canada Reception was an opportunity to invite our partners to network. We sold over 1,000 tickets, and over 1,300 people attended. It was a very positive showcase to our partners, thanks to all involved in helping make this a memorable and successful event.
There were also quite a few side events as a result of it being held in Canada. 35 Education Officers from Canadian missions abroad were present from all over the world and gave presentations which were extremely useful, including a breakfast meeting on how to promote Canada. The International Roundtable on the Integrity of International Education also met to discuss how to keep the integrity of our reputation – the next meeting is to be held in London in early 2012.
Q: Dr. Gary Slater (CAGS) Was this appropriate for graduate studies?
A: Lise (NAFSA) Yes, many groups present were looking to forge new partnerships with graduate programs.
A: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) The conference discussed all levels of education – from K-12 to post-grad. This is where everyone can talk to each other and network.
C: Claire Poulin (DFAIT) We had the largest presence of Canadians.
C: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) We are going to follow up with Canadian participants with a survey to get their thoughts and recommendations for future conferences.
C: Claire (DFAIT) In 2019, NAFSA will possibly be held in Canada, so we look forward to your feedback.
C: John Shalagan (MTCU) NAFSA is an opportunity for institutions to “wheel and deal” as they see fit with other institutions.
C: Gonzalo Peralta (Languages Canada) I remember at NAFSA in 2005 that I felt rather lost. Now, I feel very much at home. We are selling Canada, it makes a difference when you feel you are at home. There was a real buzz at this event which was great.
C: Claire (DFAIT) Yes, this is true. Thanks everyone.
Melissa Fama, Deputy Director, CIC
I am going to provide an update on some stats and policy updates as well as answer any questions you may have. You are all well aware that the number of students coming to Canada continues to grow. There has been an increase of 6% since 2009, the highest number ever. We do expect final data to be posted on our website at the end of June or early July. In terms of the number of all students residing in Canada there are over 200,000. In terms of destination provinces, students are spread across the country, but particularly in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.
As you can see, an interesting statistic here is that the number of students destined to colleges is increasing drastically. The largest number of international students continues to enter at the university level, while the number of applications fell by 12% in trade schools. China has become the top source country for international students, overtaking Korea in 2009 – an increase of more than 300% in the last 10 years. Japan has fallen out of the top 5, while India moved into third from seventh as a result of the Student Partners Program.
In terms of approval rates, in 2010 it was 73%, a decrease from 78% in 2008. In terms of transitioning to permanent residence, we are seeing an increase in the number of students who chose to immigrate permanently. This number grew in 2009 to 12,929. Numbers are still low for the Canadian Experience Class, but we are working to improve this.
We are also offering new Statistical Products: the Facts and Figures Digital Library - a large collection of data tables on permanent residents and temporary residents for Canada, provinces and territories, and municipal areas – and the Quarterly Administrative Data Release, which provides up-to-date portraits of the immigration process, including both permanent and temporary streams, as well as an overview of the citizenship process. The study permit information is from 2005-2009, for more information you can contact CIC.
We have also made some service improvements, in terms of online services for international students. We have introduced a number of e-Application services for students, but many are submitting dual applications (on paper and electronically) which seriously affects processing time – the wait times could be improved, and we are expecting them to do so. Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) is the newest service for visa-exempt countries, and the take-up has been very good. As well there are Visa Application Centres (VACs): service provider organizations that offer applicants optional assistance in the completion of visa applications to enter Canada. These have been seen to improve client service through the application process, while mission staff are able to devote resources to the decision-making process – a “win-win” situation for applicants and CIC.
The Student Partners Program with India has resulted in an increase in approval rates for applicants destined to participating colleges, and wait times have been drastically improved. With the SPP in China, Chinese students have an IELTS option and a non-IELTS option which allows officers to better calculate risks. However, approval rates for the IELTS option have been very high. Medical examiners have also increased processing times with the upfront medical exams.
We are also working on Bill C-35 which when in force, will strengthen the government’s capacity to deal with undisclosed immigration consultants. CIC has implemented a number of operational changes to work permit programs to improve access to programs and to clarify issues being raised by provinces, institutions, and students at the 2009 CBIE conference. Improving Canada’s standing as a destination of choice for international students is a priority for federal, provincial and territorial governments. More specifically, the mandate given to CIC and provinces/territories responsible for immigration, is to clarify federal and provincial/territorial roles in the delivery of the International Student Program, and to reduce opportunities for abuse of the immigration system. We are still in the early stages, but we have another meeting at the end of the month to address this topic. We have been doing information session for various groups, however no formal consultations have been launched but we are hoping to do so in the fall. We really hope to improve services and improve wait times and student satisfaction.
Q: Michelle Beaton (CIS (CHEC)) Regarding immigration and the SPP. Universities are finding that students are being directed to colleges by less than above board individuals. The complication at universities is that by the time students reach second year, they are permanent residents. Would it be possible to delineate between undergrad and graduate students in the CIC data? This would be helpful for the recruiting effort.
A: Melissa (CIC) We have application levels broken down by category, but I will look into other breakdowns. We will be trying to do so in the future. Could you clarify the question re: permanent residents?
Q: Michelle Beaton (CIS (CHEC)) We are seeing that students who were international students are arriving at university after completing college degrees as domestic students. SPP is being used as a vehicle to achieve permanent resident status. This has resulted in greater college applicants rather than university. This loss results in a bleed in international enrolment at the university level.
A: Melissa (CIC) Once we streamline our list of institutions, we are hoping that we will have a global SPP program.
C: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) This afternoon we will be discussing what statistics are necessary. We want to hear from you as to what the needs are – what can we put on the website that will meet your needs.
Q: Dr. Gary Slater (CAGS) I looked at country stats, and of course it is an aggregate. At the graduate level we are missing the stats from Iran, which is very important.
A: Melissa (CIC) We don’t look at particular countries, but at an application as a whole. This separates us from other countries.
Q: Dr. Gary Slater (CAGS) So why is Iran missing?
A: Melissa (CIC) These are the actual entries, not the applications received. If you look at those, we may see a higher level.
Q: Gonzalo Peralta (Languages Canada) Just 2 points. First, there are 96,000 students being admitted into Canada. There is an incredible amount of action in CIC offices, so in terms of workload and distribution I would understand, but Canada is losing millions of dollars as students are not getting admitted to learn a language. This is troubling us. Secondly, Bill C-35, does this mean that as of June, all agents will have to be registered?
A: Melissa (CIC) Only if they provide advice.
Q: Gonzalo Peralta (Languages Canada) So there is no transition plan? This will result in the number of students plummeting. We are not against the idea, but we do not want to see it coming into force immediately.
A: Melissa (CIC) I am not working in that area specifically, I will have to go back and get more information.
Q: Sylvain Goudreau (Cégep international) I have two messages from Cégep International in Quebec. We greatly appreciate what has been done in the last 2 years, that is, the webinars and the training. We have people on the ground that have to accompany and advise students and future students abroad. We have to keep this training in place. Last week in Quebec, we received a leader from Mexico who stated how frustrating it was for Mexicans to get visas. He commented that initiatives were being taken in Europe, however we don’t have that common vision with Mexico. Is there hope this will change?
A: Melissa (CIC) Again, this is not my area. However that situation was an attempt to curb fraudulent refugee claims as it was spreading via word of mouth. We are working to increase mobility, however we must wait for ‘normal’ levels to return.
Q: Gail Bowkett (AUCC) Will the SPP be a worldwide program?
A: Melissa (CIC) SPP in India was introduced as levels were so low in the college sector. We are looking to replicate the principles of this program – institutions will be required to report back. We will be able to provide information for provinces to address recruitment practices.
C: Rudy Sabas (ACCC) There were two SPP streams in China. In India there were only 42 participating colleges. There were about 1,200 applications, but only 800 were approved.
Ava Czapalay, President & CEO, EduNova
How many consortia does a small region need?
It’s become apparent that broader collaboration is needed – turn to Atlantic colleagues. We have partnered with Ontario, BC, Quebec in the past. In markets that are large, it makes sense to go in as Atlantic Canada.
In hosting journalist tours, we are offering a regional collaborative program through ET/FA as a central body.
One of the actual projects is an asset map of training activities that resides at EduNova. We have developed a database of EduNova members – this allows for rapid development of marketing material and member expertise. We received endorsement for this project. We also have a presence at pavilion shows. There are some activities you want to just participate in, even if they are not a priority market – so participation in this case might be better as a region, not province.
Regional trade funding is set aside for Atlantic Provinces – just like across Canada. Until last September, the eight sectors recognized did not include Education and Training – it has now been added as a recognized export sector that has access to Regional Trade Funding.
EduNova sustains itself from international project revenue. But we are running out of capacity now and turning to friends across the country seeking partners. We held a symposium to see if there was interest from other Atlantic provinces for collaboration. Education & Training became the ninth sector from that symposium. There was also drive to establish a regional association.
The ET/FA mandate: to secure global markets through collaboration. Members include a variety of member associations, national associations (CAPS-I, Languages Canada), federal government partners (DFAIT), representatives from provincial governments (mainly drawn from economic development and education & training). No individual institution can be on this committee.
Some other ET/FA projects include:
A close relationship has evolved with other Atlantic provinces (especially New Brunswick).
Q: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) At the Halifax conference, there was some level of reticence of New Brunswick institutions fearful that this was just an enhancement of EduNova. How do you assure people that this is a regional activity?
A: Ava (ET/FA) EduNova has no desire to include members from outside of Nova Scotia. We are carefully identifying opportunities, and letting stakeholders guide ET/FA. The member drive is not EduNova driven.
Claude Martel, Chairman, CeLEA
It is the 10 year anniversary of CeLEA, and we are currently doing a strategic revision. We have 395 members, mainly from Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, but from across the country as well – we are trying to grow our membership. We maintain international contacts through our website – there have been one or two international requests re: Canadian potential of the eLearning industry. In 2011, the website had more than 35,000 hits halfway through the year.
We are attracting people interested in the distance education expertise of Canada, which is level with the UK and Australia. We published a book (eLearning Project Management: Canadian Perspectives), newsletters and other presentations, as well as a comprehensive calendar for the industry. We are also conducting an industry-wide survey re: the online learning state in Canada, to be released in the fall. In terms of communications, we are on sites such as LinkedIn, but not on Facebook. We have also sponsored various international events and conferences related to online learning.
We are the host of the Canadian eLearning directory – this gets most traffic on the website from people looking for partners, suppliers, organizations. Through this site, there are many requests for experts and technology to develop online learning elsewhere. We plan to introduce an eLearning contractor directory to be launched in September to increase visibility.
This year we are making closer links with other organizations (e.g. MODSIM); co-branding national events; developing a directory of online courses and programs.
We are asked many times whether Canada offers an online learning course in a certain area. We are aiming to put together all of the offerings in distance learning in Canada, for a one-stop shop in distance education. The industry is booming exponentially – there is double digit growth in the US for credited online learning, 16% in Europe. Multiple online universities for the Arab market are growing in the United Arab Emirates. The market developed in distance education does not take away from the international student market – it is a new market, with a slight overlap of 1-2%.
CeLEA is looking for ways to collaborate.
C: Claire Poulin (DFAIT) It is agreed that Canada has a niche in distance education.
Q: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) I had a meeting with Vicky Bush from the Canadian Virtual University consortium about a year ago – members talked about tying distance education with classroom-based education (e.g. 2 years distance, 2 years in person – which would result in a higher probability of students getting a visa to come to Canada by demonstrating their commitment to completing the program of study). Has the college sector been consulted?
A: Claude (CeLEA) We have spoken to some. Some initiatives like Cégep à Distance, Université Laval, Memorial University. We are trying to get funds to gather all the institutions, currently there is no unique consortium or no unique repertoire. Many organizations are now using Cégep à Distance, etc., for people to get into the system – so this can be used to recruit international students. We see a need, an increasing demand for online learning. No one knew the University of Phoenix had 250,000 students. Indira Gandhi University has a million students in India. They are not replacing classrooms, just addressing the needs of a niche. We are gathering a few players now, like Athabasca University and Memorial University. We are just looking for funding right now, that is, governmental funding or member-based funding. We are already attracting international interest, this is a good way to piggyback. We want to become a hub – the first one, before Australia – and not to replace universities.
Q: Julie Vaudrin Charette (Cégep international) Is there any strategy for remote access groups (e.g. Nunavut)? How do you integrate remote access groups into this?
A: Claude (CeLEA) We have not talked about it yet. We will bring it in independently. There is a big question of not finding online courses. Even internally, the online opportunities are not well known.
Q: Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) Will online credits be transferrable between universities?
A: Claude (CeLEA) There are already recognized agreements between universities. But we do not want to delve into that too much.
C: Yves Beaudin (CICIC) There are 5,000 institutes who offer degrees on experiential learning, which is causing problems for actual institutes. The Canadian Virtual University does have an agreement that if a student wants to take a course at one university, they can have credits transferred. Some universities in Canada will not accept students with online degrees. Some universities have their own online programs, but don’t do research (for example the University of Phoenix). This can be problematic. A lot of interesting things are happening, but not all are clarified. Advantages and disadvantages exist.
Several participants acknowledged Jean-Philippe’s contribution to the sector. The value of the roundtable in terms of providing updates and an opportunity to network was stressed.
Anne Burns (NACC) We would appreciate a decision with regard to the eligibility criteria for private colleges.
Rudy Sabas (ACCC) We have received two requests from Trade Commissioners (Chengdu – re: a college that would like to partner to make a study for hospitality and tourism, funded by the Ministry of Education; and, Cameroon: request to partner with a college specializing in jewellery-making). We expect a second group of 25 Chinese college presidents to take leadership training. China is embarking on massive improvements in technical education; among six countries, they have chosen Canada. We are also working on the Forum on Tech Education and a Forum in Vietnam Ho Chi Minh to network in South East Asia. As well, our office will be moving to the Chateau Laurier on August 1. We have also opened a new office in London, and offices in the Philippines, China, India, funded by CIC.
Sylvain Goudreau (Cégep international) We are inviting everyone to CONAHEC in Puebla, Mexico in October, as well as another conference in San Diego October 20-22. I would also like a copy of the PowerPoint files for the day’s presentations
Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) The presentations will be sent to all participants. Please send me the information for the San Diego gathering.
Normand Shaffer (CREPUQ) Quebec institutions are very interested in working and collaborating with Edu-Canada. It’s not always easy to explain that there is a diversity of offering within the education system in Canada, but we are confident we will continue to do so effectively.
Jean-Philippe (DFAIT) Thanks to everyone for the kind words. It is a privilege to be the steward of this sector and for working with all of you. I am proud of the team and the department’s leadership.
Claire Poulin, Director, International Education & Youth Division, DFAIT
We are entering a new phase for Edu-Canada. You have all contributed to the image of Canada abroad as one country, we will continue to build on this solid foundation.
I recognize your appreciation of the work of the Edu-Canada team. Our next roundtable will be mid-November. Thank you all for participating.