Some colourful items from Cap’s Performing Arts programs caught the eye of a group of Indian school principals who visited Capilano University on Monday, September 27. The visit was an opportunity for influential Indian educators to learn more about the Canadian education system as potential study destinations for their graduating students. It also provided an opportunity for Canadian post-secondary institutions to register and reinforce their interest in the India education market, including an opportunity to become more aware of the recruitment potential beyond north India where Canada is already fairly well-known; and an opportunity to establish longterm education partnerships.
This Indian premier schools principals’ visit profiled the quality, variety and uniqueness of post-secondary education in Canada, recognizing that Indian educators are not as familiar with Canada as they are with other destinations, particularly the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and increasingly, Singapore. Difficulties encountered by some Indian students in Australia, as well as changes to Australian immigration regulations, along with a tightening of visa requirements in the United Kingdom, has created greater student interest in Canada. Information gained by the visiting principals will allow them to provide better information and counselling to their students and to the students’ parents on post-secondary options available in Canada.
The visit is timely from a study permit perspective. There has been a steady rise in Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) study permit approval rates for Indian applicants (approval rates now approaching 90% for university-bound students and increasing approval rates for community college bound students as well). This suggests that this is a particularly appropriate time to look at further expanding education connections with India. The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi reports that study permits for Indian nationals approved at the visa offices in India in 2008 totalled 3,120. In 2009, application rates rose sharply and approval rates continued to rise, such that 3,705 study permits were issued by September 30, 2009. The trend indicates that final total study permits issued for 2009 will approximately double 2008 figures. More information on the study permit process is contained in a research piece prepared by Gardiner Wilson for the Association of Universities and College of Canada (AUCC) entitled Recruiting International Students in India: A Good Practices Guidebook, and released on January 26. 2010. It can be viewed on the AUCC website at www.aucc.ca
Visiting organizers are Maria Mathai, formerly Canadian Education Centre Network (CECN) director for India, who has worked for many years in support of Canadian education marketing. The in-Canada organizer is Gardiner Wilson, former director of public policy and research at CECN, and a retired senior Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade diplomat. He has organized approximately 15 incoming visits form Asian countries over the past few years.