VANCOUVER - Education Minister George Abbott is travelling to China to build on British Columbia's leading role in international education.
The mission will support the BC Jobs Plan goal to increase the number of international students in British Columbia by 50 per cent over the next four years.
Abbott will build and strengthen relationships with key Chinese school districts and educational agencies, education service providers, and B.C.-offshore school administrators, students and teachers. The minister also has a national-level meeting with the Deputy Minister of the China Ministry of Education.
In addition to bringing more Chinese students to British Columbia, the meetings will seek to create more opportunities for B.C. students to study in China and expand the network of B.C.-certified schools in China. The minister will also sign memorandums of understanding that will lay the groundwork for an additional four B.C.-certified offshore schools in Shanghai, Hebei and Guangxi.
China has a new long-term education reform and development plan that aims to open up Chinese education to the outside world through student exchanges and collaboration. Chinese schools are encouraged to reach out to resources outside of the country to strengthen their English-language education programs. This is a major development since the last mission in 2008. British Columbia is in an ideal position to build on their existing relationships and help the Chinese Government meet their education objectives, while generating significant social, cultural and economic benefits for B.C. communities.
Education Minister George Abbott -
"China has a new, innovative plan for education that places great emphasis on opening Chinese education to the outside world through student exchanges and collaboration. Our message will be that British Columbia is in an ideal position to help the Chinese Government meet its education objectives."
"British Columbia's K-12 system has a great international reputation for high-quality education with good pathways to post secondary opportunities in B.C. and elsewhere around the world. We offer a multicultural environment, a safe, welcoming home to international students, choice in programming, and high-quality education ranked by the OECD as among the top five in the world in some disciplines."
"International students can benefit from B.C.'s world-class K-12 education system whether they study in B.C. or attend our offshore schools. This mission will help us to refine and finalize our Jobs Plan strategy for international education, particularly with respect to the K-12 sector."
"International education is win-win for all involved. International students enrich the learning and living experiences for all involved, and provide significant social, cultural, and economic benefits to communities throughout the province. The diversity brought to our schools and communities helps foster global perspectives and stronger global ties and relationships."
Learn More at:
Information for International Students: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/en/themes/education/international_students/index.page
Two backgrounders follow.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
Facts about international education
- B.C.'s first memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Chinese school district was signed in 2003. Since then, the total has grown to 16, with another four MOUs expected to be signed on the current visit.
- Overseas, 8,500 students are enrolled in 29 B.C.-certified offshore schools. These schools deliver the B.C. curriculum with B.C. teachers and offer B.C. Dogwood Graduation Diplomas.
- Of 29 B.C.-offshore schools, the vast majority (24) are located in China.
- China has chosen B.C. as a favoured destination for its students. Since 2006, the number of students coming from China has risen by 57 per cent.
- Approximately 14,000 international students from over 70 countries are enrolled in B.C.'s K-12 system, more than Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba combined.
- Of these, approximately 2,600 are from Mainland China and another 400 from Hong Kong.
- Next to South Korea (5,300), China is the most significant country of origin of foreign students in B.C. K-12 schools.
- More than half of B.C.'s school districts (34 of 60) host international students and are actively looking to expand their international education programs. These districts offer a wide range of experiences that appeal to international students - from large urban districts to small rural settings.
- International students do not take seats away from domestic students within B.C.'s K-12 education system. Particularly in districts with declining enrolment, international students create opportunity to hire more B.C. teachers and make better use of existing school infrastructure.
- Provincial taxpayers do not subsidize international K-12 students either directly, indirectly or through capital costs for buildings. In 2010-11, international students paid $160 million in K-12 school fees: $129 million went to boards of education and an estimated $31 million went to independent schools.
- In 2010 alone, more than 94,000 international students (public and private K-12, post-secondary, and language schools) spent more than $1.8 billion in B.C.
- International education is expanding globally. Worldwide, the demand to study abroad is expected to grow from 3.3 million to 7.2 million students by 2025.
- In the near term, the BC Jobs Plan aims to increase the number of international students in B.C. by 50 per cent over the next four years (public and private K-12, post-sec, and language schools). This will mean 47,000 more students living, studying and contributing in British Columbia.
- Each 10 per cent increase in international students to B.C. translates into an estimated 1,800 new jobs and a $100-million boost to the provincial economy.
- Many students who come to study in B.C. will stay and work here, helping to offset our aging population and contribute to a highly skilled workforce.
- Over the next decade, it is estimated that there will be over one million job openings in the province. However, only 650,000 students are currently enrolled in our K-12 and post-secondary education system.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
Saturday, March 17
- Briefing at the Shanghai Trade Office regarding latest trends and opportunities in international education.
Sunday, March 18
- Attend the largest international student recruitment fair in China, the China International Education Recruitment Exhibition, to identify student recruitment best practices.
- Meeting and MOU signing with Shanghai Minhang Education Bureau (equivalent to a B.C. school district) to strengthen and formalize strategic education ties.
- Meeting and MOU signing with Huangpu District Education Bureau (equivalent to a B.C. school district) to strengthen and formalize strategic education ties.
Monday, March 19
- Interview with Dalian New Business newspaper to promote the B.C. education brand.
- Meeting with Mayor of Dalian to support and expand international education co-operative initiatives.
- Tour of Dalian Maple Leaf Educational Park and meeting with students, administrators and approximately 120 B.C. teachers.
Tuesday, March 20
- Meet with Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone Administration Committee to build on their recent visit to B.C. and strengthen B.C. Offshore Schools as feeder schools to K-12 and Post-Secondary.
- Interviews with Tianjin News Reporters to promote B.C. education brand.
- Tour of Tianjin Maple Leaf Education Park and meeting with administrators, teachers and students.
Wednesday, March 21
- Meet with representatives of the Nechako Lakes project and demonstrate provincial support to enhance educational exchange between SD 91 and Hubei.
- Meet with Canadian Ambassador Mulroney and Education officials to discuss ways to enhance co-operation between Chinese and Canadian institutions and increased student recruitment.
- Meeting with Dr. Luxin, Deputy Minister, China Ministry of Education to confirm B.C.'s interest in furthering education and trade partnerships (national government level meeting).
- Meeting and MOU signing with Hebei Education Department (equivalent to a B.C. school district) to strengthen and formalize strategic education ties.
Thursday, March 22
- Meeting and campus tour of Beijing Normal University to discuss furthering international relationships and possibility of B.C. students visiting Chinese postsecondary institutions.
- Meet with China Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (sub national body charged with foreign credential recognition) to confirm critical importance of B.C. as an approved foreign study destination and increased recognition of B.C.'s quality assurance scheme.
- Meeting and MOU signing with Guanxi Autonomous Region Education Department, a large jurisdiction adjacent to Guangzhou, to strengthen and formalize strategic education ties.
Friday, March 23
- Meet with delegation of B.C. K-12 Superintendents to brief them on meetings to date and build consensus on desired outcomes.
- Meeting with Hanban (Chinese Language Council) to discuss opportunities to enhance Mandarin instruction in B.C.
- School visit and MOU singing between Surrey School District and #80 Middle School.
- Meeting with Beijing International Educational Exchange to thank them for their support of summer camps and to discuss opportunities for large scale teacher training.
Saturday, March 24
- Meeting with delegation of B.C. K-12 superintendents to discuss an International Education Strategy and China K-12 strategy.
- B.C. and Friends of B.C. Networking Event to discuss and explore B.C/China opportunities.
Sunday, March 25
- School visit and meeting with Education Bureau of Dongcheng District to support B.C. school districts and discuss further opportunities.
Monday, March 26
- Meeting with Superintendent of Sino Bright School, a B.C. offshore school network in Beijing and northern China with expansion plans in 2012-13.
Government Communications and Public Engagement Ministry of Education