Finding Canadians with Sufficient Asia Knowledge Is Difficult, Say 60% of Respondents in APF Canada Poll

Vancouver, B.C. – December 3, 2012 - Without sufficient investment in Asia-related education and skills training, Canada will be hampered in promoting economic ties with Asia. According to an opinion poll released today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, 60% of respondents who employ Canadians for Asia-related work say it is difficult to find qualified Canadians with the appropriate level of knowledge and awareness of Asia to help the company or organization succeed in Asia.

“We need to invest in education and skills training programs that reflect the global reality of a rising Asia,” said Mr. Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. “Canada will not be able to participate fully in Asian business opportunities or have influence in the region unless we build Asia competency into our education system, and make Asia knowledge a priority for businesses, government and civil society leaders.”

In this Points of View Asia Pacific opinion poll, Canadians who are engaged with Asia through their professional interests considered different dimensions of Canada-Asia relations with respect to education. More than 8-in-10 respondents consider education to be the most critical component of any strategy to build closer relations with Asian countries.

Among various initiatives, strong emphasis was placed on putting a greater priority on the teaching of Asian languages in the country’s elementary and secondary schools (91%), as well as creating greater mobility opportunities (study abroad, co-op, externships) for higher education students (35%).

The poll also found that respondents perceived few major barriers to Canada playing a leadership role in international education in Asia, but over 70% expressed the need for more to be done to promote Canada as an education destination. Respondents working in post-secondary institutions supported a priority focus on developing and improving exchange programs with Asian institutions (27%), as well as developing joint/dual/double programs (20%).

The full survey results on education in Canada-Asia relations can be viewed here.

Points of View Asia Pacific, sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, is an opinion panel of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada comprised of 1,188 individuals who are engaged in Asia through professional and research interests. It is a unique medium through which Canada’s growing community of Asia practitioners can voice their opinions and views on policy issues of the day that relate to Canada’s relations with Asia. Surveys on issues related to Canada-Asia relations will be issued on a quarterly basis. Data was collected between October 19 to October 26, 2012 with a total of 374 people completing all or part of the survey questionnaire at a 31.5% response rate. The margin of error for the total sample of 374 is ±5.1%, 19 times out of 20. For more information on the profile of Points of View Asia Pacific panel members, click here.

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About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540
Email: trang.nguyen@asiapacific.ca

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