In spite of the long-standing cordial relations between India and Canada as well as the size and importance of the Indian diaspora in Canada, educational linkages between the two countries remain below potential. Significant efforts have been devoted recently to expand and strengthen academic links in the post-secondary sector, however more needs to be done to effectively reach optimum potential.
Indian student interest in postsecondary education is increasing at the same time as Canadian community Colleges and Universities are seeking greater internationalization and showing a keen interest in India. The time is therefore right to forge closer links between Canadian institutions and their Indian counterparts, both in the area of student recruitment and also in forging partnerships, affiliations, joint programming and facilitating an exchange of faculty & scholars.
It is anticipated that the creation of the Council will provide a solid basis for increased cooperation between Canadian and Indian education institutions and further internationalization of Canada’s education sector, will build on past successes of synergistic models, and add structure to loosely formed alliances & intermittent Provincial and Federal initiatives in its engagement with India.
Canada needs to create more awareness in India and reinforce ‘Brand Canada’ while at the same time boost student interest from India in light of declining numbers over the years due to fierce ‘competition’ from other countries. The economic benefit which is realized when students come to study in Canada and the direct/ indirect cash injection into the economy is upwards of $6.5 billion.
India’s market opening is being monitored closely and is highly anticipated. With the successful passage of the bill through the Cabinet, which now works its way through Parliament to become a law, CIEC will provide direction to Canadian universities & colleges that want to establish campuses in India and help galvanize education in India, particularly the post secondary sector.
Institutionalizing an infrastructure in the form of a council will help formalize collaborations between Canadian & Indian institutions which will encourage partnerships and affiliations leading to growth of the Indian education system which has a huge shortfall of quality education providers.
It is anticipated that the CIEC will transform the “business as usual” approach into a more meaningful and assertive strategy. There is no doubt that education is a linchpin and having proven year after year via our ‘Synergy’ events that India needs to be paid attention to, CIEC will reach out to other stake holders and those with an interest in achieving optimum potential in this sector. This organization will become a key ‘go to’ organization, boldly launch initiatives, and lead meaningful missions that will continue to galvanize this ‘education corridor.’ A feat others have attempted and the success been intermittent.
The Council’s optimistic plan is to create initial momentum via a membership campaign attracting various academic dimensions (colleges, universities, agents, language schools and businesses among others) from both countries. Focusing solely on the education sector, the CIEC will be different from other organizations which demonstrate a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and/or are not exclusive to India and/or may not have required ‘on the ground’ resources. The CIEC sees itself as an extension to efforts made by other stake holders and those with an intimate knowledge of and a keen interest in this area while making a clarion call to other organizations to work collectively and cohesively.