Canada ranks among the five most popular study destinations in the world and has a clear strategy of remaining a top destination. Welcoming diverse communities with an enviable quality of life to ensure that Canada overcomes significant medium- and long-term labour shortages, particularly in the highly qualified professional and skilled trades that sustain a modern economy, Canadian universities have been ‘tasked’ to draw students from around the world as international students make excellent candidates for permanent residency: they are relatively young, proficient in at least one official language, have Canadian educational qualifications, and can help address this country’s current and pending labour market needs, particularly for highly skilled workers.
Under this mandate and strategy, the provincial government of Ontario, is helping Algoma University (AU) to expand. AU established on the site of the former Shingwauk Residential School in 2008, Sault Ste. Marie has now two more campuses at Timmins and Brampton. The student-centred post-secondary university, specializing in liberal arts, sciences, management and professional degree programs, in 2019 decided to offer select Master’s degrees. These master’s programs after due approvals will be launched from 2023 academic year and then Ph Ds will follow subsequently. Algoma University’s CSCEI has been hand-picked to align with the City of Brampton’s goals to retain talent, attract industry, develop its social capital – and, ultimately – to become a strong, vibrant community.
Asima Vezina, who earlier this year assumed a second five-year term as president and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma U, is these days on her maiden visit to India, to understand and experience first-hand as well as seek and talk to partner institutions here in India. Her visit is special after reopening of the world following two years of covid pandemic and also on account of her university town being habituated by a large number of Indians and other south Asians. “We have grown over past four years in the number of international students and a large number of these students coming from 60 nationalities are Indians (3000). Actually, word of mouth and a near home environment on account of sizeable number of people of Indian origin is adding to our appeal. And, I have come to visit places, interact with partners, families, and also explore the international experience for our students here in India as India is a significant global player and respected country offering a lot of cultural and other learning experience,” she adds.
Speaking on the diversity and intake of international students, Vezina feels the global economy will need people to work with different worldviews and better understanding of each other. “In our university, I have seen Indian and Pakistani students becoming super friends and it is true for others as well. We have special emphasis and faculty training for addressing diversity issues and fostering togetherness and convergence for greater cause of humanity,” she adds.
Algoma U, a non-profit public university is known for offering excellent undergraduate programs, in particular its ICT, Healthcare and Social Work programs are widely known. With affordable fees and boarding (ranging from Rs 25-30 lakh per year), AU, is looking at students from all across India and has partnered ApplyBoard, a Canadian Educational technology company specializing in international admissions with an office in India for this.
With more than 1.3 lakh student expected to go to Canada this year, AU’s share is going to increase after Asima Vezina visit. In a message to students in India, she said that students who are academically good, focused, hardworking and proficient in English will be always welcome to Canada and her university.