Credits: JEAN-FRANCOIS VILLENEUVE/24 HEURES/QMI AGENCY
International students are "essential" to Quebec's prosperity, Prof. Munroe-Blum, the vice-chancellor of McGill University, says.
There are many benefits to recruiting international students, she said, not the least of which is "their impact on our economy.
"For example, international students in Canada have an economic impact of eight billion dollars annually.
And, according to the Conférence régionale des élus, one third of international students who study in
Quebec choose to stay here after their studies," she said Friday on the university's site.
“A great example is Aldo Bensadoun,” Munroe-Blum said, referring to the founder of Aldo Shoes. After graduating from McGill, the Morocco-born Bensadoun "stayed in Quebec and from here created a large
Quebec multinational that today has 1,000 shoe stores in 66 countries around the world."
She says Quebec needs "all the talented, educated people it can get" but noted that the province's share of Canada’s international student population has decreased from 33% cent in 2001 to 25% in 2010. In contrast, B.C.'s share increased from 10% to nearly 20%.”
Munroe-Blum feels there is a "lack of recognition of the costs behind recruiting and supporting students who come from outside Quebec."
Although they pay higher tuition than their Quebec peers, the universities only keep the equivalent of in-province tuition. The difference – $55 million each year, in the case of McGill – is turned over to the Quebec government, which redistributes the money across the entire Quebec university system, she said.
“Universities, and the students they’re attracting, are being deprived of significant resources that should be returned to them,” Munroe-Blum says. “That’s not an invitation for universities to do more.”
She said she will ask the Quebec government to include the quality of programs, research and international recruitment to the agenda of an upcoming higher education summit, saying that “Quebec is positioned to win the race for global talent if we move quickly, competitively and with confidence.”