Canadian universities' Brazilian ambition -

Canadian universities’ Brazilian ambition


Last October I wrote a really strange column noting that the government of Brazil is sending 75,000 students abroad on scholarships, and Brazilian businesses were bankrolling another 25,000, and Canada was way behind in recruiting those students to Canadian universities.

Who else is getting ready to play host to the Brazilian scholarship students? The United States, of course: they’ll take 35,000 students, nearly half of the total. In June, the Institute of International Education held conference calls with 80 U.S. universities to tell them how to make sure the Brazilian kids choose those schools as their study destination.

Who else? Germany’s on board for 10,000. France will take 5,000. That leaves 15,000, spread among “institutes in Asia and other countries in the Americas and Europe.” Probably some will wash up on Canadian shores, more or less by accident. That’s the way it usually goes.

But today I’m here to tell you it’s not going to go the way it usually goes. From the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada:

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is collaborating with the Canadian Bureau for International Education to bring Brazilian university students to Canada. Through the CBIE/AUCC program and other agreements between Canadian institutions and the Brazilian government, an estimated 12,000 Science without Borders scholars are expected to come to Canada between now and 2016.

I’ve asked AUCC for more details. I’m leery of double-counting: if a student attends UBC for three years, does she count as three students? If she goes to McGill for a year and Stanford for a year, does she count as one student in Canada and one student in the U.S.? But still, the scale of this effort seems laudable. And I’m told it was accomplished with no participation by the government of Canada.

This always kicks off a discussion about whether it’s any of the federal government’s business to market Canadian education abroad. But as I noted in my column last autumn, the Harper government claims to see this as a settled question: of course it’s the feds’ responsibility. In fact, Trade Minister Ed Fast said, when the government struck an experts’ panel to recommend an internationalization strategy, that such efforts would be “critical to Canada’s continued economic growth and prosperity.”

But when he said that, the Brazilian scholarship program was already announced, and the Canadian panel had a mandate to take forever coming up with a plan, so Canadian universities decided not to wait. With details of the scheme pending, I’m nonetheless inclined to say this is good news.



Canadian universities’ Brazilian ambition

  1. Global university mobility is a wonderful advance.  I hope to see a lot more of it.

    • Mobility ?

      Every university that I know of charges out of province/out of state students more than locals and charges foriegn students far, far more.

      Unless and until every university in the world charges every student the same amount regardless of their origin we won’t have true mobility.

      • Universities everywhere are already doing this.

        • No they have exchanges with partner institutions. These usually involve lower level credits and a large residency at the degree granting institution.

          A year abroad and global university mobility are two different things.

          Heck even Canada wide mobility would be nice. Why can’t we all benefit from Quebec’s low tuition rates ?

          I mean, the ROC pays for them in transfer rates already.

          • Global university mobility has been underway for over a decade. It’s a big thing, not to mention a great thing.

          • Its a luxury for the rich.

          • No, it’s a necessity for everyone.

          • No, there is nothing wrong with getting your education domestically.

            Its one option amongst many for the rich.

            For everyone else its living at home and attending whatever school happens to be in the city they live in.

          • Luckily, you’re all alone on your back porch.

            However, that’s not the topic here.

          • Back porch ?

            I’m never quite sure what century you’re from Emily.

      • This is a ridiculous position. International students pay more because domestic students HAVE TUITION SUBSIDIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT. So what you are proposing is either that we don’t subsidize locals (which is dumb – higher education is a public good), OR that we subsidize the tuition of foreign students as well (which makes no sense because there is no guarantee they will stay in Canada). 

  2. This is great news.  Brazil is a growing economic power (part of the famous BRIC) and even better: has beautiful and varied scenery and landscarpes, great food, amazing music, plays an mesmerising brand of futbol (soccer to you and me), and incredibly beautiful people (just ask Tom Brady).

    • Beautiful people, yes. I was lucky enough to attend parts of The
      World Student Games in Edmonton ( ’84 0r ’86, not sure anymore).
      The memory of the Brazilian womens volleyball team still brings a
      smile to my face. It all involved a cultural exchange as well and the
      Brazilian musicians and dancers were a definite highlight.
      Education takes many shapes and forms.

  3. You are also seeing the beginning of a second trend. Developing countries with money (especially the UAE) are throwing a lot of bucks at the creation of world-class educational institutions. Developed world universities are setting up feeder campuses abroad, with their stamp of approval. After all, other countries don’t want to send us their best and brightest indefinitely. We have a large surplus of academics in a number of disciplines, relative to the number of jobs, so foreign universities can poach decent folks (at the moment they have trouble retaining foreign professors, but that too will change in time). 

    We need to enjoy the bonanza of foreign students while we still can – and make sure that foreign students stay in Canada.