Government statistics show B.C. has become more of an attractive destination for foreign students.
In 2010-11, 100,700 international students chose B.C. schools, up from 94,000 in the previous year, a seven per cent increase.
The province figures that for every 10 per cent increase in the number of foreign students, B.C. gains 1,800 jobs and benefits from $100 million in gross domestic product wealth. With the trend toward smaller families in Canada, there are now just 650,000 students enrolled in B.C. kindergarten-to-Grade 12 schools, and a lot more will be needed to fill the estimated one million jobs expected to become available over the next decade.
To help sell our schools to foreign students, the provincial government has designed a website to help sell the benefits of education in B.C.
Compatible with cell phones and tablet computers, the site www.learnlivebc.ca plots all K-12 and post-secondary schools on a map and provides direct links to each institution's website. Users can decide on a school or location and apply for entrance directly into individual schools, as well as figure out how to transfer credits, how to apply for study permits, and how to make online travel arrangements.
Users are directed to information about living and working in B.C. while attending school and outlines options for applying for permanent residency status. The site highlights vocational programs available to international students through Trades Training BC and will help guide them through the post-secondary application process using the ApplyBC service. It also taps into a database of information made available by the B.C. Council on Admissions and Transfer. Opportunities for online post-secondary learning are listed for those who can't afford to take time off work to earn B.C. credentials.
LiveLearnBC also links to a Government of Canada site that lists scholarship/bursary opportunities, offering a country-by country breakdown on what funding programs are available for students of each nationality.
Links to international educational offices at each school provide program details, admission requirements, costs, and information on health resources and student housing. Applicants are advised it will take at least four weeks for schools to completely evaluate credentials.
Parents of K-12 students are directed to the Education Ministry's website to find schools in their catchment areas.
By early this year, the site is expected to be available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portugese.