The ‘spectacular success’ of higher ed in Asia . . .
Times Higher Education’s ranking of Asian universities shows the region’s share of top-ranked schools has climbed from one-fourth in 2016 to one-third in 2019. Not to be outdone by competitors in the West, many Asian universities are also getting into the internationalization game, offering English-language programs that appeal to both domestic and international students. This is the same pool of students that Canadian universities have long been wooing.
Canada defending its education turf . . .
Canada just had a record year for international students, many of them from Asia. This was partly due to anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. and U.K., along with uncertainty around Brexit. The benefits these students bring to Canada are not trivial; between 2009 and 2016, total income from international students rose C$1.5 billion, helping (mightily) to offset a C$1.7-billion drop in government funding over the same period. The good times may keep on rolling, but Canada should be wary of becoming complacent about protecting its current market position.
Time to think long-term . . .
Over the long term, we believe Canada may need to re-visit and possibly re-define its value proposition for international students. One of the selling points in the past has been cost – it’s much cheaper to study here than in the U.S. or the U.K. But Asia’s climb in reputational rankings may start to erode that advantage, especially if Asian universities also provide high-quality, English-language degrees, but at a lower price point and in places that are closer to home.
- Institute for International Education: Asia’s stake in 21st century higher education
- Policy Options: Canada’s growing reliance on international students
- Times Higher Education: Asia University Rankings 2019: across-the-board gains