BCCIE Summer Conference tackles tougher stuff in International Education
By the numbers, BC’s International Education sector is a dazzling success story, with well over 30,000 jobs created and over $3.5 billion annually into the provincial economy. More than that, inbound and outbound international students get tools and experiences to help them become global citizens with expanded world views.
But issues like the sector’s impact on the environment, scooping up less-developed nations’ best and brightest, capacity issues and some of internationalization’s unintended consequences need to be talked about, says Randall Martin, executive director of the British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE).
“People like me and my colleagues in International Education have worked very hard to build the sector into what it is today, but even proud parents should admit their children sometimes don’t clean up their rooms,” says Martin. “For example, International Education bears some responsibility for culling the top economic strata from the global South, possibly leaving some countries less able to build their own successful economies, institutions and societies.”
Martin’s comments come on the eve of the BCCIE’s annual summer conference, June 17-20 at Vancouver’s Westin Bayshore. One of the largest International Education conferences in North America, this year’s event will attract over 500 educators, administrators and diplomatic figures from across Canada and globally. The conference theme is “Things We Should Be Talking About in International Education”. Plenaries, workshops and panels will explore tougher issues in the sector.
“We have achieved much, and our global reputation for quality education is deserved, but there are things we should be talking about as the sector matures, and this conference helps begin those conversations. Ultimately, we want to be thinking about BC’s International Education sector in terms of quality and the role it can play in mitigating these issues going forward,” says Martin.
A conference highlight will be former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell’s keynote address entitled International Education: What Kind of Canada Do We Want? on Monday, June 18.