Jim Cambridge, superintendent of SD 62 (Sooke), Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads University, Jamie Cassels, president and vice-chancellor of University of Victoria, Sherri Bell, president of Camosun College, Piet Langstraat, superintendent of SD 61 (Greater Victoria), and Dave Eberwein, superintendent of SD 63 (Saanich) sign a formal agreement Monday to create Education Victoria, an initiative to promote the region to international secondary and post-secondary students.                                 Wolf Depner/News Staff

Jim Cambridge, superintendent of SD 62 (Sooke), Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads University, Jamie Cassels, president and vice-chancellor of University of Victoria, Sherri Bell, president of Camosun College, Piet Langstraat, superintendent of SD 61 (Greater Victoria), and Dave Eberwein, superintendent of SD 63 (Saanich) sign a formal agreement Monday to create Education Victoria, an initiative to promote the region to international secondary and post-secondary students. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Greater Victoria schools reach out to the world

School districts and post-secondary institutions targeting international students

Representatives of three post-secondary institutions and three local school districts have formalized an agreement that promotes the region to international students, an increasingly important part of the provincial economy and local school district budgets.

“Our focus is to have the southern Vancouver Island [region] as a destination for international students to come, learn, work and perhaps stay, after they have finished post-secondary,” said Sherri Bell, president of Camosun College.

She made those comments Monday after Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads University, Jamie Cassels, president and vice-chancellor of University of Victoria, Piet Langstraat, superintendent of SD 61 (Greater Victoria), Dave Eberwein, superintendent of SD 63 (Saanich), and Jim Cambridge, superintendent of SD 62 (Sooke), had joined Bell at the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College to sign the agreement.

The five-year agreement formalizes Education Victoria, an informal agreement that Camosun College, UVIC, RRU and SD 61 reached in 2013 and adds SD 62 and 63 along the way.

“It will help us co-ordinate our actions, and make sure that we are working in sync with each other rather than at cross-purposes,” said Eberwein, whose school district SD 63 includes Saanich’s Claremont secondary.

The recruitment of international students – whether they are K-12 or post-secondary students – is becoming an important part of B.C.’s economy.

Just over 130,000 international students attended provincial post-secondary institutions and K-12 schools in 2015 – a 44 per cent increase in the number of international students in B.C. from 2010, according to the British Columbia Council for International Education. This international student body spent over $3.5 billion to pay for their tuition and fees and day-to-day living expenses in 2015, according to the organization.

International education service was the fourth most important export of British Columbia, since it attracts revenues.

International and out-of-province students attending SD 61 account for almost $13.29 million in revenue – or 7.1 per cent of total revenue, according to the budget ending June 2018. Five years ago, offshore tuition fees accounted for $8.04 million – just under five per cent of total revenue.

SD 63 offers a similar picture. For the budget ending June 2018, it shows $4.52 million in international and out-of-province tuition – about 6.1 per cent of the total budget. Five years ago, offshore tuition accounted for $3.01 million – or 4.59 per cent of total revenue.

The growing presence and importance of international students comes against the backdrop of demographic and political changes that have led to stagnant local enrolment figures and budgets.

Eberwein acknowledged this aspect. “It does help to keep our enrolment numbers up. So as our enrolment fluctuates up or down, we can adjust our international enrolment projections to help match that.”

This said, Eberwein said the primary goal of having more international students is to expose domestic students to students from other cultures. “By exposing our students to other students around the world, there is that cross-cultural exchange,” he said. “It brings a nice flavour in our schools, for sure.”

If local boards welcome international students, international students have come to appreciate the region. “We live in a somewhat isolated, very safe corner of the world, tucked away, and that comes with all kinds of advantages,” said Langstraat.

SD 63 currently educates 333 international students from 22 countries, with one-third coming from China. Students from Italy, Spain and Germany come next, followed by students from Japan and Brazil.

Eberwein said Education Victoria will allow school boards to diversify this catalogue of countries against the backdrop of potential economic changes, and other developments, including development in the United States. SD 61 earlier this year announced that it would not be planning trip to the United States.

“We are trying to cushion from many of those unexpected or unknown international events that might be happening,” he said Eberwein.

Just Posted

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of a Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read