Monday, June 28, 2010

Canada's Foreign Student Policy

What is the purpose of inviting foreign students to come to Canada for their studies, subsidizing them, and even reserving spots for them in our professional schools?  I always thought it was a good idea (and have some good friends who arrived as foreign students) because it educated the best and the brightest from less developed nations who could then return to those nations to spread the knowledge and improve things back home.  But I would bet that the vast majority of these foreign students don't return home, staying in Canada for the rest of their lives.  Well then, perhaps the reason for Canada's foreign student policy is charity.  But charity begins at home - there are lots of bright Canadian-born kids who can't afford a post-secondary education (despite their parents' taxes supporting colleges and universities).  Well, maybe the reason we bring foreign students to Canada is to enrich our own kids' educational experience.  Laudable, but unnecessary when we could immerse our kids over there to broaden their minds - and maybe even require a semester or two abroad in order to graduate.  Maybe then, it's to increase the Liberal voting base in Canada.  Hmmm...  None of these reasons seem good enough for me, except the part about returning home to improve things there.  Why not tag every foreign student visa with a 10-year restriction so that upon graduation they must return home and spread the knowledge around for a decade before becoming eligible to apply to come back to Canada?  That said - before you jump all over me - both of my daughters have been foreign students, one of them still is.  K has already returned to Canada, and L fully intends to - and Canada will be improved thereby, I'm sure.