Latest statistics show the number of international students choosing British Columbia as their study destination increased 22% from 94,000 students in 2009-10 to 114,600 in 2013-14.
International students enrol in all levels of education in B.C., including public and private post-secondary, private language schools and K-12.
2013-14 international students in B.C.:
- Public post-secondary: 39,600 students
- Private post-secondary: 17,400 students
- K-12: 14,100 students
- Private language schools: 43,500 students
International education is a key sector of the BC Jobs Plan and is a driver of a strong, diverse and growing economy. In 2012-13, international students in B.C. spent $2.3 billion on tuition, accommodation and living expenses, arts, culture and recreation, which supported almost 25,500 jobs. This created a positive economic effect on communities throughout the province.
The top five source countries for international students in 2013-14, were:
Brazil - 8,900 students
China - 28,700 students
Japan - 13,500 students
Saudi Arabia - 6,200 students
South Korea - 13,600 students
The only education sector that experienced a decline in the number of international students between 2012-13 and 2013-14 was the private language schools with a 12% decrease (5,700). Nationally, this sector saw a 9% drop. Alberta and Nova Scotia saw a 19% drop. Influencing factors include job action by Foreign Service workers and strengthened federal requirements for institutions that host international students.
B.C.’s International Education Strategy includes the goal of a 50% increase in the number of international students in B.C. by September 2016. In support of the strategy and this target, government continues to advance collaboration opportunities between jurisdictions, opening doors for an even greater two-way exchange of students, faculty and ideas.
For example, during trade missions to India and China, government announced scholarship funding to several B.C. institutions to contribute to programs that help attract international students to the province and facilitate opportunities for B.C. students to study abroad.
During the mission to China led by Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, government provided $130,000 to British Columbia Institute of Technology, Langara College, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia to support the development of scholarship programs with education partners in China. Participating B.C. institutions, Chinese post-secondary institutions, the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission and MITACS matched the funding for a total of almost $1.4 million to provide for more than 300 scholarships benefiting both B.C. and Chinese students.
On the recent mission to Asia led by Education Minister Peter Fassbender, government announced $150,000 for scholarships to encourage K-12 students from China, Japan and South Korea to study in B.C., or for students already in B.C. to move on to their post-secondary studies. In total, 120 students from Asia will benefit from the scholarship program.
While in China, Wilkinson also participated in a series of meetings that explored research and commercial prospects, such as with companies that are interested in working with B.C. on projects such as engine design, aviation or LNG.
The International Education Strategy will help ensure B.C. communities and institutions benefit socially, culturally and economically from the presence of international students in the province and that B.C. students have opportunities to study abroad that will prepare them to succeed in the global marketplace.
Since September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan has been building on the strengths of the most-competitive sectors in the province, using the educated and skilled workforce in British Columbia to keep the economy diverse, strong and growing.
International Student Interviews: https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment
B.C. China Trade Mission 2015: www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2015/03/spring-trade-missions-showcase-bcs-diverse-export-market-in-asia.html
B.C. India Trade Mission 2014: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/india-trade-mission-promotes-partnerships-investment-jobs-for-bc
B.C.’s International Education Strategy: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/internationaleducation/forms/InternationalEducationStrategy_WEB.PDF
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Ministry of Advanced Education