Sunday August 5, 2012
Let foreigners pay local fees, says report
CANADA’s tertiary institutions must stop charging foreign students higher tuition fees. They should charge them the same amount that Canadians pay, says a government report.
The report which was released last week said that one way of boosting the economy was to allow more foreigners to pay local fees, as only then would they be attracted to pursue their studies in the country.
The report was prepared for Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast, who noted that Australia and New Zealand had eliminated differential tuition fees for foreign graduate and post-doctoral students, respectively.
In Canada, foreign students pay from twice to six times more than local students to attend college or university.
“Given the competition in the global international education market, educational policy-makers may need to re-examine the practice of differential tuition fees,” the report concluded.
In October, Fast had asked a panel comprising senior academics and varsity officials to come up with ways of attracting more foreign students and researchers to the country, as part of Canada’s overall economy strategy.
The report added that foreign students contributed more than C$8 bil (RM24.9 bil) to Canada’s economy in 2010, up from C$6.5 bil (RM20.2 bil) in 2008.
On educational services, countries such as China, France, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States spent 14% to 44% of the value of the goods they import from Canada.
“Canada’s educational expertise is a valuable export that can be measured in comparison to other goods and service exports,” said the report.
“International students can also become a valuable source of highly skilled labour to our economy at a time when the western world is facing a potential labour shortage, especially among top talent.”
The report found there were 218,000 international students in Canada in 2010 — mostly from China and South Korea — up from 178,000 in 2008 and more than double the number of students in 1999.
The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia hosted nearly two-thirds of international students in Canada (85,300 and 60,500 respectively) while Quebec, which saw major student protests this year over planned tuition hikes, was a distant third. — AFP