Five ways Ontario plans to reform higher education for international students
New provincial strategy targets economic impact of international education and student learning experience
The Government of Ontario has released a new post-secondary education strategy that aims at creating more synergy between the province’s labour market needs and the needs of domestic and international students in the province.
Titled “Educating Global Citizens,” the strategy acknowledges the positive impact international students and study abroad programs are having on economic innovation in the province.
Based on the proposed strategy, which was released in the first week of May, Ontario plans to take the following five steps:
- Improve the experience of domestic students by creating opportunities for international education
The Ontario government will provide funding to academic institutions to support the advancement of intercultural understanding between domestic students and international students.
Additionally, government funding and support will help establish scholarships and annual targets dedicated to study abroad programs.
- Enhance the international student experience by promoting transparency and developing support services.
Academic institutions will be encouraged to include detailed information on tuition fees as part of offer letters sent to prospective international students.
Ontario also aims to provide more support for services such as international students’ health care and conduct regular surveys to measure the experience of international students in Ontario post-secondary institutions.
- Promote balanced international growth by increasing financial support for Ph.D. programs and attracting francophone international students.
Through collaborative efforts with provincial organizations, such as the consortium Advantage Ontario, the government will promote Ontario as a study destination where French-speaking students can learn, work and settle.
- Encourage the retention of international students by easing pathways for settlement and work after graduation.
The Ontario government will work with stakeholders and academic institutions on programs to address issues international students may face during their initial entry into the country and/or their integration into the province’s workforce after graduation.
- Draw students from a wide range of nationalities through various initiatives to build a healthy and viable post-secondary education system.
Working with the corresponding stakeholders, Ontario will identify and elaborate on best practices that benefit international students across various sectors. For example, the introduction and support of orientation programs dedicated to helping international students once they arrive in the province.
Speaking of the strategy, Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Mitzie Hunter, said, “It’s a plan that responds to the growth of international education in Ontario and the increasing internationalization of our campuses. One that will provide domestic learners with more opportunities to access worldwide experiences, and one that enhances supports and opportunities for international students studying in the province.”
Building on current efforts
In recent years, there has been a recognizable increase in the number of international students choosing Canada.
Ontario is among their top destinations of choice. According to Canadian Bureau for International Education, nearly half of all international students in Canada are studying in Ontario.
In addition to hosting some of the top-performing universities and colleges, Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program offers international graduates with enticing options for permanent immigration after graduation, such as the Masters Graduate Stream and Ph.D. Graduate Stream.
Also, international graduates of participating Ontario academic institutions may stay for up to three years in Canada and work for any employer in order to gain skilled work experience and build professional connections in the country.