Canada is the second favorite destination after the US for Saudi students who are pursuing their higher studies abroad.
Canadian Ambassador Thomas MacDonald was speaking to Arab News at a dinner reception hosted in honor of the visiting delegates of the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) at his official residence.
The envoy said that this year, 18 Canadian universities and seven colleges are participating in the IECHE for the fifth consecutive year.
The Saudi student population in Canada includes 1,000 students who are reading for medical degrees.
Besides these students reading in universities and colleges in Canada, Niagara College and Algonquin College in Ottawa have recently opened their branch institutions in Taif and Jazan respectively.
He explained that the Niagara College which has 300 Saudi students on roll has geared its curriculum for hospitality trade, while the other college in Jazan is providing training in vocation education.
The college in Jazan is solely concentrating on training students for vocational education.
“Various skills to suit the needs and aptitudes of the youth are taught in this college,” the envoy said, pointing out that trainees who pass out from these colleges easily find jobs in the local market.
He pointed out that the number of students going to Canada has increased by leaps and bounds during the past 10 years because of its quality education and also Canada has an environment which could be adapted easily by foreign students.
“We are happy that the Saudi government has reposed its confidence in us to educate their youth population,” the ambassador said, adding that its a responsible task and Canada will justify the confidence reposed in its government.
Referring to the IECHE, the ambassador said: “Over the past four years, this event has successfully grown to become an important forum allowing students from Saudi Arabia to learn about the tremendous opportunities for post-secondary education from leading international education institutions.”
MacDonald said that Canada offers quality education in all its 10 provinces and three territories. It has a safe and friendly environment and affordable tuition fees.
“International students in Canada have access to academic programs, which allows them to gain valuable work experience through work placement and cooperative education, and the most sophisticated and state-of-the-art technologies and facilities,” he said.
In 2012, five Canadian universities were ranked among the world’s top 100 universities.
“I invite Saudi students to meet all the representatives from Canadian universities and colleges, and to discover how studying there will set you on the path to achieving your dreams and securing your future,” he added.
On Saudi-Canada relations, MacDonald said: “We have a positive relationship in a wide range of fields, including the energy sector, where we’re both global leaders.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest oil reserves and Canada is number two or three in terms of oil reserves. We have a lot of common interest in energy security as we are both members of the G-20.”
MacDonald said that the two countries were also collaborating in the security sector including counter-terrorism.
“We share a lot of common views on regional issues.”
In 2014, Canada hosted the first cohort of Saudi Globalink Research Interns, a program that sees top-ranked undergraduate applicants complete 12-week internships under the supervision of the science, engineering, math, humanities and social science faculties.
Sean Kennedy, general manager of the Niagara College in Taif, said: “Our students succeed because we have the best programs, delivered by the top professors on one of the most beautiful campuses in North America. We support our students to succeed academically and professionally.”
He added: “We are now in Taif with a national center of excellence in tourism, hospitality and business innovation in cooperation with Colleges of Excellence based on our Canadian success.”
Kennedy said that Niagara College is fully-funded tuition through Technical Vocational Training Corporation(TVTC) for all eligible Saudi nationals and also include generous monthly stipends for all eligible Saudi nationals
“World-class training delivered in Taif by the top Canadian business, hospitality and tourism college and exciting employment opportunities in top Saudi companies after graduation.”
Kennedy, who is also the vice president of the Niagara College in Ontario, explained that it is a diploma course for a duration of three years which would include subjects such a hotel management, guest relations, teaching of culinary skills, business management and event management.
He also said that the college hopes to enrol 300 students every year.
Article Source: Arab News