OTTAWA – Not enough Canadian postsecondary students are getting the valuable international learning opportunities that they need to succeed in the global 21st century workplace, says a new report released today by the Study Group on Global Education.
According to the report, Global Education for Canadians: Equipping Young Canadians to Succeed at Home & Abroad, the need for international education for young Canadians is more urgent now than ever. As the nature of work changes, global intolerance grows, and the centre of the global economy shifts, students must develop the skills and knowledge to ensure Canada can be a leader in an evolving global marketplace.
“Canadian universities strongly endorse the report’s recommendations,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “At a time of closing borders and closing minds, the world is increasingly looking to Canada as a partner in research, innovation, and diplomacy. We need our next generation of leaders and innovators to have core international competencies in order to seize this global moment.”
The Global Education report sets out a targeted plan for Canada’s governments, postsecondary institutions and the private sector to dramatically increase the number of young people participating in international study, co-ops, and internships over the next ten years – with particular emphasis on raising the access and participation of Indigenous youth and those from marginalized groups.
While 97 per cent of Canadian universities offer international learning opportunities, only 3.1 per cent of undergraduate students per year, or about 11 per cent of undergraduate students over the course of a degree, undertake an international mobility experience.
The Study Group is calling for measures to increase the number of Canadian postsecondary students going abroad to 25 per cent within the next decade. They also call for an increase in the proportion of students going to emerging countries and better accessibility of global experiences to students of all backgrounds.
The Study Group on Global Education is an independent group of Canadian policy experts, private sector leaders and university and college presidents. The co-chairs are Margaret Biggs, Matthews Fellow on Global Public Policy, Queen’s University, and former president of the Canadian International Development Agency and Roland Paris, Professor of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, and former foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Trudeau.
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Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.