The government of Ontario declares five ways it intends to reform higher education for international students. The province government released a new post-secondary education plan or strategy that aims at developing more synergy between the province’s labour market requirement and the needs of local and international students in the province.
Titled “Educating Global Citizens,” the strategy recognizes the huge impact international students and study abroad programs are having on the economic transformation of the province.
Based on the proposed strategy, which was declared in the first week of August, Ontario plans to reform higher education through the following five steps:
1. Improve the experience of local students by creating opportunities for international education
The provincial government plan to provide funding to post-secondary institutions to support the advancement of intercultural understanding between local students and international students.
In addition, government financial support and assistance will help establish scholarships and annual targets dedicated to enhancing and encouraging studying abroad programs.
2. Improving the international student experience by promoting transparency and creating support services
Canadian educational institutions will be encouraged to include in-depth information on tuition fees as part of offer letters forwarded to prospective international students.
Ontario province also plans to provide more assistance for services such as international students’ health care and carry out regular surveys to measure the experience of international students in Ontario Academic institutions.
3. Promote balanced international growth by increasing financial aid for PhD programs and drawing francophone international students.
Through collaborative efforts with some provincial organizations and businesses, such as the consortium Avantage Ontario, the government will sell Ontario as a study destination where Francophone students can learn, work and settle.
4. Encouraging the retention of international students by easing routes for settlement and work after graduation.
The provincial government will work with partners, stakeholders and educational institutions on programs to address problems international students may face during their initial entry into the Province and/or their integration into the Ontario’s workforce after graduation.
5. Attract students from a wide range of countries through various initiatives to build a healthy and strong post-secondary education system.
Working with the corresponding partners and stakeholders, Ontario government will identify and work on best practices that would be beneficial to international students across various sectors. For instance, the introduction and support of orientation programs dedicated specifically to helping and assisting international students once they come to the province.
Building on current strides
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of international students opting for Canada.
Ontario is among their top study destinations of choice. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, about half, if not more of foreign students in Canada are studying in Ontario.
In addition to hosting some of the top popular universities and colleges, Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) offers international graduates with juicy options for permanent residency after graduation, such as the PhD Graduate Stream and Masters Graduate Stream.
Also, international graduates of participating in Ontario post secondary institutions may stay for up to three (3) years in Canada and work for any Canadian employer in order to gain valuable work experience and build professional ties in the country.