This article to be read at the Toronto Star reports on a study that calls for the creation of a "no frills" university for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to handle the expected "explosion" of 25,000 students in the next fifteen years.
No-frills university urged in GTA
Feb 13, 2009 04:30 AM
Ontario should consider creating a new university in the GTA – undergraduates only, very little research – to handle the explosion of 25,000 extra students expected in bachelor programs over the next 15 years, urges a report by the province's advisory body on higher learning.
The study, being released today by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, calls on Queen's Park to consider launching a new undergraduate university somewhere in Greater Toronto – largely focused on arts and science – as well as an "open" online university, and suggests letting a handful of community colleges offer a wider range of degrees.
And where, do I ask, is that "explosion of 25,000 extra students" going to come from? Keeping in mind that Canada has a birth rate below replacement levels it cannot be because Canadians are having a lot of children.
The surge of students is being fuelled by the boom of new Canadians in the GTA, plus a growing interest in post-secondary education.
As should be expected Toronto university officials love the idea.
Toronto university officials hailed the idea.
"We welcome the proposal for a new undergraduate institution with laser-like focus on the liberal arts," said David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto.
Naylor has joined the heads of Ryerson and York universities in warning they cannot handle the enrolment boom on their already crowded, largely landlocked campuses.
The current "enrollment boom" can be explained with the same reason that is propelling calls for a new "no-frills" university: immigration, since high school enrollment across the country is typically declining.
Canada's universities and colleges need money and that's what they see in immigrants especially foreign students who pay full tuition. So you can imagine that current immigration minister Jason Kenney's announcement to allow more foreign students to study in Canada, during a time of a deep recession no less, was good news for them. However, if you just lost your job and are looking to going back to school to retrain or if you are a university bound Canadian student Kenney's announcement should be concerning. But Canada's universities and colleges do not particularly care about your future. They only care about theirs (the teaching staff and school administrators) and they don't care where the money comes from.
Focus on foreign students
Canada will `substantially' boost number it allows, immigration minister says, noting Australia's lead
Feb 21, 2009 04:30 AM
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
With an eye on foreign students as a "source of revenue," Canada will "substantially increase" the number it brings in this year, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced yesterday.
Australia allows 10 times the students from India that Canada does, he said at a conference in downtown Toronto for more than 1,600 unemployed or underemployed internationally educated professionals keen to figure out the secrets to finding work here.
He wouldn't elaborate on how many more students would be lured here but said they have a chance to understand the labour market and the language and put themselves on a "much faster pathway" to immigration.
I don't know what relevance there is in stating that Australia brings in 10 times more students from India than Canada does. Perhaps his audience was largely South Asian and never willing to miss an opportunity to pander to the ethnic electorate he wanted to reassure them that Indian immigration to Canada (colonialism to be precise) will continue apace even in poor economic times. What is clear is that the decision to allow more foreign students is about "foreign students as a 'source of revenue,'" as reported in this Toronto Star article.
"We are not receiving enough foreign students," Kenney said. Universities are pressing for the increase, he said, because foreign students, who pay the highest tuition fees, are "a source of revenue."
So it is universities who are pressing for the increase and not about labour market needs. This shouldn't be very reassuring to the unemployed and underemployed "internationally trained professionals" in attendance at Kenney's announcement. Armed with real world experience we read this:
For university-educated immigrants already here, 1,680 of whom signed up for the Progress Career Planning Institute conference to meet employers and job counsellors, the jobs still aren't there.
Sakina Ismat Khan left her own business in Karachi, Pakistan, to join her husband. With a master's degree in political science from Pakistan and a paralegal degree earned here, she says: "I'm desperate. ... There is no place for immigrants other than educated labour. The government is wasting its money with these non-profit agencies that are supposed to help us."
The decision to allow more foreign students into Canada is a win/win situation for Canada's colleges and universities and for a Conservative minority government eager to pander to ethnic voting blocks in hopes to secure a majority next federal election. Canada's institutions of higher learning get the money they covet and the Conservative government gets new sources of immigrant votes to tap since the foreign student visa is an avenue to citizenship and eventual chain migration of sponsored family members.
How necessary the decision to allow more foreign students is debatable. But there are no guarantees that these students will stay in Canada after getting their degrees and Canadian citizenship. If Canadians are leaving Canada to pursue job opportunities abroad and if 40% of skilled and professional male immigrants leave Canada permanently within 10 years it may very well be that the jobs are not there.
Keeping also in mind that Canada is the most educated country in the industrialized world I can see how allowing more foreign students into the country will only exacerbate "doctors driving cabs" phenomenon. For Canadian students and unemployed and underemployed immigrant professionals the decision to allow more foreign students does not help you in the least but may very well make your life in Canada tougher.