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Canada's universities eager for Chinese partnerships

By NA LI in TORONTO | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-14 02:15

Canada's universities eager for Chinese partnerships

View of Canada's capital city Ottawa from the University of Ottawa. PHOTOS BY NA LI / CHINA DAILY

As an education destination that continues to welcome a large number of students from across the world, especially from China, Canada and its universities are forging more partnerships with their Chinese counterparts.

Chinese students' interest in a Canadian education is so strong that more Canadian universities and colleges are going on more education missions to China.

That collaboration will be on display in a mission on Oct 19 at the China-Canada Education Cooperation Forum, which will involve many Canadian university presidents promoting Canadian higher education.

"The demand for participation in missions to China is really huge. Right now, we are excited that more than 40 of Canada's universities are taking part; 50 percent of our universities are going on these larger missions," said Helen Murphy, director of communication, Universities Canada, one of the stakeholders in the Canadian Consortium for International Education.

"There will be some level of understanding and new partnerships, and we are trying to raise awareness with Canadian media about why we find partnerships are so important. This is the evolution of Canadian universities on the research side, and we are going to build capacities to operate as equal partners," Murphy said.

Another initiative is to support and increase student mobility in Canada back to China, with many Canadian companies in the private sector going after graduates who could speak Mandarin and have Canadian experience. That is so they could potentially help in operations and trading relationships, according to Andreas Weichert, executive director at International Education Global Affairs Canada.

"We are also sending a message domestically to our politicians about supporting foreign research collaboration now that a survey result showed 95 percent of Canadians support international research, and that we ought to do more in this regard," he said.

Jacques Fremont, president of the University of Ottawa, recognized the benefits of cooperation and collaboration of his university with several Chinese universities, for example, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Canada's universities eager for Chinese partnerships

Jacques Fremont (centre), president of the University of Ottawa, recognizes the benefits of cooperation and collaboration between his university and Chinese universities.

"There is an intense relationship, especially in medical studies, engineering and education. We always have dozens of Chinese people coming under specific programs. Our agreements and collaboration with Chinese universities really make a difference. It is very important," Fremont said.

A couple of months ago, the university signed an agreement with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai in systems biology, which he said will send both schools to the top tier in research worldwide.

"China is a very good and major player, and we are closer to China. A strategic partnership with China is certainly one of the most important relationships we have," Fremont added.

Canada is known for its world-class educational institutions, ranking seventh in international education, and for its friendly, relatively safe environment, said Gary W. Slater, associate vice-president of the University of Ottawa.

Canada's universities eager for Chinese partnerships

Dianne Taylor-Gearing (standing), president of NSCAD University, one of Canada's oldest independent cultural institutions, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, discusses the university's strength of education and research in visual culture to Chinese international students on campus.

"The Canadian education system is of very high quality overall. We have many quality-control programs, and people know, and they come to Canada for the high-quality education we offer," Slater said, adding that the university does not normally talk about majors but emphasizes standards.

Slater said the university's physics and chemistry programs are highly ranked, and it also is known for its public administration, international relations and law programs in two languages. He said being located in Canada’s capital also is a benefit.

McGill University is another prestigious university that has a long tradition of partnering with China. Its researchers are actively working in partnerships with China in areas such as engineering, architecture, neuroscience, genomics and biomedical sciences.

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