Canada’s 2011 budget, approved in early June, included a significant infusion of funding to develop and implement an international education strategy. The allocation of CAD 10 million (approximately EUR 7 million) over two years has been largely applauded by the Canadian higher education community and now the conversation turns to how specifically these monies might be spent. All signs point to a heavy emphasis on international marketing efforts.
From a technical perspective, marketing Canada to the world may prove to be a bit complicated, given the decentralised responsibility for education (at the provincial and territorial levels) alongside the centralised oversight for international relations (at the federal level). In an effort to bridge this gap, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has been collaborating in some joint promotional activities over the last several years with the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC), an umbrella organisation for the provincial ministries of education. CMEC has jumped to the fore of the conversation about how to promote Canada internationally with a new proposal titled “Bringing Education in Canada to the World, Bringing the World to Canada”. This document consists of five recommendations directed at the political leadership of the provinces, territories and relevant national ministries, and calls for:
increasing Canada’s international marketplace competitiveness through brand promotion and global identity development;
improving efficiency and transparency with regard to student visas for travel to, study in and post-study activities within Canada;
promoting and enhancing Canada’s reputation for high-quality education provision;
providing market intelligence and data to better guide decision making among education providers and enhance the measurement of results with respect to recruiting and graduating students; and
ensuring there are more opportunities for Canadian students to study abroad.
Meanwhile, another key actor in this space is the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing (CCIEM). This group is a partnership between the five leading national education associations of Canada, led by the Canadian Bureau for International Education. CCIEM’s own proposal to the Government of Canada for spending the monies earmarked for international education in the 2011 budget is expected to be made public sometime in the next couple of months.
Council of Ministers of Education Canada