Canada hails surge in foreign students

AFP-JIJI

Canadian universities and colleges welcomed a record 100,000 foreign students in 2012, the government said Tuesday, part of a plan to replace retiring baby boomers in the workforce.

The figure is a 60 percent rise in enrollment from 2004. The government is also working to keep more international students working in Canada after graduating, by revamping immigration policies.

Starting in the 1970s, Canada’s labor market has shifted from a resource-based economy to a service-based one, requiring a more highly skilled and educated workforce.

In response, Canadian universities have doubled their capacity in the last 30 years, according to Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, which represents 95 Canadian schools.

But now, with the looming retirement of many baby boomers — the massive generation born just after the end of World War II — school administrators have set their sights on increasing international student enrollment.

Foreign students now make up about 10 percent of the total student population in Canada.