• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

Ndokwa Vanguard

....we are out to educate, inform, sensitize & update

Japa: Canada to boost education sector as pressure on labour market and housing from foreign students skyrockets

Oct 30, 2023 #News

The Canadian government says it will introduce new measures to tighten standards on colleges, responding to allegations that Canada’s education sector is bringing in so many foreign students to boost pressure on housing and the labor market.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller has announced a franework that will make universities and colleges to set a higher standard for services, support and outcomes for international students, starting in time for the fall 2024 semester.

Schools that meet the higher benchmark will get priority for the processing of student visas, Miller said, and adequate housing will be one of the criteria.

Institutions also will be required to confirm every applicant’s acceptance letter directly with the Canadian government starting December 1, he said.

Also, Miller’s department will also review the post-graduate work permit program and introduce reforms to ensure it meets the needs of the labor market.

The plan comes amid growing concern that Canadian educational institutions rely too much on international students as a source of funding, Bloomberg said.

Foreign students are charged an average of five times as much as Canadian students, and colleges catering to foreigners have popped up in strip malls and temporary buildings, most notably in the Toronto suburb of Brampton, Ontario where Miller made his announcement on Friday.

“We know that there has been consistent underfunding of post-secondary education, particularly by provinces, depending on the province, over the years – and institutions are smart and have adapted to that,” Miller said at a news conference.

“That has gone through at times opportunistic fees that have been charged to international students to close a gap that is really an unnatural one and shouldn’t be the case in a country like Canada.”

Post-secondary institutions have increasingly relied on tuition fees as provincial funding as a share of revenue has declined from 42% in 2001 to 35% last year. Ontario, the country’s largest province, has also frozen tuition fees that can be charged to Canadians for the past three years.

In 2019 to 2020, foreigners paid 37% of tuition at Canada’s universities, while in 2021 those students paid an estimated 68% of tuition at Ontario’s colleges.

The number of foreign students in Canada has tripled in about a decade to more than 800,000 last year.

Many foreign students, use admission to college as a pathway to gain permanent residency in Canada.

There have been reports that Cananian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government could introduce a cap on international student visas,  but Miller rejected the idea over the weekend.

“The experiences of international students are too complex for the federal government to stomp in and pretend that it has all the solutions” in establishing a visa cap, Miller said.

Provinces have a primary role in accrediting learning institutions, he said.

“The federal government is coming forward and opening its arms to our provincial partners, territorial partners, to make sure we all do our jobs properly,” he said. “If that job can’t be done, the federal government is prepared to do it.”

Bloomberg revealed that international education contributes more than C$22 billion ($16 billion) to the Canadian economy annually – greater than Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft – and supports more than 200,000 jobs, according to Miller’s office.

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