October 3 & 4, 2013
Hilton Garden Inn (Toronto Airport West) • 1870 Matheson Blvd • Mississauga, ON • L4W 0B3
On October 3 & 4, Canada India Education Council (CIEC) was the proud host of ‘Canada-India: Synergy in Education’ Conference 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Toronto. Participants exchanged ideas & experiences, explored opportunities, highlighted their programs and networked with stakeholders active in both markets, resulting in many valuable connections.
‘Conferences, such as this one, are crucial to Canada-India relations, because they allow for growth and promoting knowledge between the two countries… I wish the 7th Annual Canada-India Synergy in Education Conference much success and hope all participants will thoroughly enjoy and enlighten themselves at this event.‘
– Hon. Deepak Obhrai, P.C., M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights
Key points & highlights
- Need for a strategy for promoting overlooked sectors of education within the Canadian education system to international students, which include career colleges / skilled trades & technical education
- Patterns and sources of student growth & prospects and challenges of increased activity in the Indian education sector
- Reenergized National strategy for promoting ‘Brand Canada’ overseas & opportunities for involvement
This year, CIEC introduced the ‘brainstorming’ session called ‘A Suggestion or Two’ that captured what key players such as academics, government & education agents want to see done to further optimize educational ties between Canada and India. Some of the ideas suggested include:
- Importance of keeping sight of international students’ needs both before and after they reach Canada
- The critical value the Synergy Conference brings to all stakeholders and need to reach a wider audience as the Synergy / CIEC brand grows
- NACC engaged in groundbreaking work and Career colleges must offer incentives to international students to overcome an unfavorable perception created by UK and Australian career colleges
- Academic institutions’ need for ethical education agents and iCARE’s (CIEC’s Agent Membership Category) growing & much-lauded role in meeting this demand through our unique agent peer-review screening system where agents are graded in key areas by Canadian college and University references
CIEC Chair Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew’s opening address stressed the need for educational ties as a valuable bridge between nations, even in matters of national security, their usefulness in the promotion of ideas and national growth, as well as the effects of globalization and a shrinking middle class in a changing world. Prof. Balbir Sahni from Concordia University followed with his Inaugural Address: ‘Sustainability of India–Focused Academic Linkages: Prospects and Challenges’ – a look at the path ahead in terms of gauging the true value of and optimizing MoUs while increasing student pull. Hon. Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India-Toronto discussed the critical role education plays in bridging the gap between Canada and India while Prof. Margaret Walton-Roberts from Wilfrid Laurier University presented Synergy attendees with a much-lauded session on the intersection of immigration & education in the Canada-India corridor, after which Synergy attendees enjoyed an Indian buffet lunch / networking session.
Rachel Lindsey, Senior Policy Analyst Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada reflected on AUCC’s ‘India strategy’ and Husain Neemuchwala, CEO of CIEC provided an update on CIEC upcoming activities which include our India ‘Mission 2014’ and the tremendous success of our iCARE (agent membership & screening process) initiative. Paul Bailey, Deputy Director, Edu-Canada, Foreign Affairs & Trade Development (DFATD) provided an update from Edu-Canada on their efforts in the promotion of Canada as a study destination. Dr. Shanthi Johnson, President, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute followed with the session ‘The road ahead: Challenges & Opportunities in the Canada-India education corridor,’ and Synergy attendees shared a laugh during the popular, interactive ‘Speed Dating’ session that offered them a change to introduce themselves & what they would like to achieve (partnerships, joint programming…).
Synergy 2013 participants enjoyed traditional Indian dessert during a short networking break and returned to hear Dr. Nemkumar (Nemy) Banthia, Univ. of British Columbia provide an overview of the new Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence announced by Hon. PM Stephen Harper in Nov 2012 called IC-IMPACTS. Devinder Shory, MP & Co-Chair, Canada-India Parliamentary Association concluded Day 1 of the Conference by raising a toast to its continued success.
On Day 2 Career Colleges Canada’s informative session discussed NACC’s role in raising the bar for career colleges and filling the skilled trade shortage. As part of their new focus on international students, they discussed the work they are doing working with the Canadian government on areas of student visas, work permits, and possible immigration as well as the new ISP program and its groundbreaking inclusion of career colleges. Kam Rathee, Vice Chair, CIEC interjected with an observation that while immigration is important to students, India’s lack of quality institutions will always be the driving force behind international students’ seeking education abroad. For this reason Canada’s primary focus must remain on providing world-class education. Patrick Brown, MP & Co-Chair, Canada-India Parliamentary Association followed with a quick update on the Government’s ‘Internationalization’ plans & the ‘Education Consortium’. Brad Butt, MP for Streetsville, Mississauga stopped by to provide greetings from Ottawa as he did last year and called the Conference to a close. He thanked the work undertaken by Husain and the entire CIEC team and offered the support of his office, either locally or in Ottawa.=
CIEC thanks our esteemed presenters and all participants for making this year’s event yet another tremendous success with a special acknowledgement to Sophiya Consultants and Study Plus Consultants and Education Services, CIEC’s newest agent members, for contributing their voices to the discussion and coming from India to collect their iCARE certificates.
We look forward to seeing you at Synergy 2014!
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