Canada, a preferred option for Indians
Posted on November 25, 2015
With a thriving Indian population settled in Canada, it is of little wonder that Canada is one of the most favoured educational destinations among Indian students, after the traditional destinations like the USA and the U.K. Official figures by some Canadian universities suggest that the number of Indian students enrolling in Canadian institutes has risen by 80 per cent in the past two years.
According to the director of international recruitment at the University of British Columbia, Canada, Hakan Bjorn, there has been an increase of around 357 per cent in the number of Indian students enrolling in Canada, growing from 7,000 students in 2006 to 32,000 students in 2014.
According to international executive director of Fanshawe College, Canada, Wendy Curtis, 800 out of the 2,000 international students hail from India.
So what makes Canada such a lucrative option for Indian students?
“English is one advantage. In addition, the Canadian dollar is comparatively weaker at present, making education in Canada more affordable. Canada is a country of immigrants and continues to support immigration given our own aging population. Canada is enthusiastic about international students and recognises their substantial investment, cultural acclimatisation and commitment with the provision of postgraduate work permits that vary between one and three years. Students gain work experience that may enhance their competitiveness in Canada and India. Perhaps most important is the relatively small and experientially focused classes and laboratories that colleges provide in well equipped classrooms staffed by professors from business and industry — all of which leads to enhanced employment opportunities for graduates,” Curtis says.
The presence of a team based in India helps students’ and their parents receive adequate guidance. While the University of British Columbia has created a full time recruiter/advisor in India who helps applicants and prospective students, Fanshawe College has a dedicated team based in New Delhi to tend to students’ questions and concerns.
“Fanshawe provides a unique, value-added settlement service (Fanshawe Cares) that includes pre departure briefings for students and their parents in India, followed by airport pick up at no charge to ensure that students get safely to the London, Ontario, community. This is followed by up to three nights of free accommodation during which students meet other students and are shown potential residences, are provided with transportation to set up their banking, and get their groceries. Once settled, students have access in their area of study to student success advisors, along with career services, athletics, and exceptional faculty. In addition, students can expect a phone call after a comprehensive on-campus orientation, from a senior student to determine how they are settling, to answer any questions they may have, and to learn about the events and activities that are available to them free of charge or for a fee,” Curtis says.
Canadian institutes see Indian students mostly opting for engineering, business studies and liberal arts. Indians usually gravitate towards the one-year postgraduate certificate programmes and often one-plus-one course, providing them with two areas of expertise after graduation, thus opening up more avenues for employment.
The availability of scholarships is another reason why Indians prefer Canada. Fanshawe offers English Language entrance scholarships to those with an IELTS of 7. ‘In progress’ scholarships are many and vary in amount depending on the programme. At the University of British Columbia, almost 10 per cent of scholarships offered this year were awarded to Indians, amounting to 1.5 million Canadian dollars.
The recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada and the resultant signing of MoU offers hope of a Canadian partnership with India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Elaborating on that, Curtis says: “Prime Minister Modi suggested that India has the potential, with skills, to be the human resource capital of the world. Fanshawe College will be working with a large automotive manufacturing firm, Badve Engineering, headquartered in Pune, to train trainers who will then train students across India at their 20 different facilities in a variety of sectors. This is a unique approach that includes the government, the private sector through the Skills Sector Councils, and an international skills trainer to provide skills that will be recognised in India and throughout the world.”