Canada Calling: Canadian universities rally to reassure Indian students – The Indian Express

Canadian universities are actively addressing the concerns of Indian students in the wake of the diplomatic tension between India and Canada to protect their thriving international education sector. As the academic year begins, some Indian students are contemplating deferring their courses due to uncertainty surrounding the crisis.
This diplomatic standoff arose in September when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested India’s involvement in the murder of a Sikh separatist advocate in British Columbia, an allegation strongly refuted by India.
India constitutes a significant portion of Canada’s international student population, accounting for around 40% of study permit holders and contributing over $20 billion to the Canadian economy annually. More than 100,000 Indian students were in the process of preparing for English language proficiency tests and securing funds for studying in Canada next year.
To mitigate potential fallout, Canadian universities are offering a range of programs, from expensive annual courses to short-term, more affordable options. They are also actively reaching out to students and partners in India to reassure them of their commitment to continued collaboration.
Worries persist among Indian students about their safety in Canada amid heightened diplomatic tensions. Consultancies like IDP Education are sending video messages to calm their nerves. Some students are considering online classes, and questions loom over visa-related uncertainties.
Joseph Wong, vice-president of the University of Toronto, which has more than 2,400 international students from India out of 86,297 it enrolled in 2022-23, told Vancouver Sun that they have reached out to various partners in India, some of them educational institutions, to reassure them that they are committed to continuing collaboration.
The international education sector has become a cornerstone of Canada’s exports, surpassing traditional industries such as auto parts, lumber, and aircraft. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller has acknowledged the lucrative contribution of international students.
While concerns remain, university leaders like Rhonda Lenton of York University express optimism that the two governments will eventually resolve the situation.


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