Amira El Masri
International education (IE) is a multi-sector, multi-actor, and multi-context phenomenon that increasingly engages and mobilizes diverse policy discourses. The literature on media and educational policies has highlighted the media’s role in leading and framing public opinions, setting political agendas, and shaping policy processes through the choice, timing, and framing of stories/news (Saraisky 2015; Stack 2007). This chapter investigates the media’s role in “reorder[ing] the political landscape,” “framing policies in terms of conflict,” and influencing “how politics is conducted” (Hajer 2009, 5). It presents findings of a qualitative case study investigating the (re)construction of IE as a post-secondary education (PSE) policy issue in Ontario in print media from 2005 to mid-2017. Using Hajer’s (1995) Discourse Coalition Framework (DCF), the study attempted to answer the following questions: What are the dominant and less dominant “storylines” that shape the media’s construction of IE in Ontario? What are the power dynamics between them? Who are the discourse coalition members that mobilize these storylines?
Roopa Desai Trilokekar and Amira El Masri
Despite frequent references to developing an international education (IE) strategy, unlike many any other Canadian provinces, Ontario does not have an IE strategy for its post-secondary education (PSE) sector as of April 2018. However, the absence of an official IE strategy has not deterred the province from engaging in IE activities. Ontario boasts among the highest enrolments of international students in the country (43.2 percent of the approximately 124,000 international students in Canada for the year 2014 [Canada. CIC 2015]), has been engaged in multiple international partnerships at the governmental and institutional levels (Sá and Sabzalieva 2016; Trilokekar, Safdar, et al. 2014), and has developed economic and immigration policies that aim at facilitating the attraction and retention of international students (Trilokekar and El Masri 2016a; Trilokekar et al. 2014). Thus, the Ontario story raises questions about what is meant by policy: Is it essentially a published government document (i.e., a text)? Does the absence of a formal PSE government policy/strategy document suggest the absence of an IE policy in Ontario’s PSE sector? This chapter is about the Ontario story.
Drawing on two sets of data derived from twelve semi-structured interviews with federal and Ontario government politicians (premiers and leaders of opposition parties) and bureaucrats from different ministries involved directly in IE policy-making, this chapter examines where and how IE has taken shape in the province’s PSE sector. Our primary focus is to understand how IE as policy has emerged and evolved in Ontario, that is, the decision-making aspects of the policy-making process, its context, structure, agendas, and actors. Whereas the Ontario PSE sector consists of universities, colleges, and private career colleges, this chapter is primarily focused on the provincial government and its relations with the university sector in developing an IE policy.
The chapter provides a brief historical narrative and identifies six key themes that speak to the unique characteristics of the Ontario’s IE policy, namely: 1) people, power, and position; 2) economy and global competition; 3) shifting federal-provincial relations; 4) parochialism: a recurring undercurrent; 5) universities in the lead; and 6) managing risks.
“International Students Are … Golden”: Canada’s Changing Policy Contexts, Approaches, and National Peculiarities in Attracting International Students as Future Immigrants
Roopa Trilokekar and Amira El Masri
As an international student adviser in the mid-to late 1990s, first at Ryerson University and then at York University, I recollect “dual intent” being among the major issues facing international students (IS) applying for student visas.¹ That is, IS had to prove that they did not intend to both enter the country on a temporary basis and then immigrate permanently. The “burden of proof” was placed on IS to show that they intended to come to Canada only for study purposes and that they would return home after completing their studies. In radical opposition is Canada’s first-ever international education strategy...
Ontario’s K-12 International Education Strategy: Policy Impacts on Teacher Education for International, Intercultural and Multilingual Sensibilities
Roopa Trilokekar and Amira El Masri
While the need to internationalize teacher education is recognized by scholars/practitioners, little attention is paid to the role of policy/policy-makers in supporting this endeavor. This chapter focuses on the enactment of Ontario’s K-12 international education strategy by four key policy actors: the Ontario Ministry of Education, the College of Teachers, School Boards and Faculties of Education in realizing (or not) the internationalization of teacher preparedness. A siloed approach, conflict in policy messaging, overlooked policy alignments and weak policy framing result in diminishing the relevance and importance of internationalization of teacher preparedness to meet Ontario’s international education objectives.
Roopa Trilokekar, Kelly Thomson, and Amira El Masri
This chapter examines the experiences of one subset of labour market hires; namely, international students (IS) who came to Canada to pursue their post-secondary education. It discusses data from a pilot study conducted for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in 2016. The chapter also examines the global readiness of Ontario employers by highlighting their hiring practices and their perceptions of the value proposition that IS represent. The idea of open borders, of welcoming IS and immigrants, is commonly associated with promoting national and global interests; mutual understanding; and, ultimately, global peace through the opening up of minds. Canadian government policy positions international education as a tool to build human capital for a local-becoming-global marketplace. Ontario universities align their institutional strategies and policies with federal and provincial government policies on IS. Commenting on employers’ hiring practices, university staffers contend that employers look for the best candidates who have the skills they need regardless of their citizenship status.
Canada doesn’t have a Harvard and that’s a good thing…” World Class Universities and the Shifting Canadian Higher Education Policy Terrain
Roopa Trilokekar, Amira El Masri, and Sheila Embleton
This chapter examines how the world-class university and global ranking discourses have been engaged in the context of Canadian and Ontarian higher education, paying particular attention to the policy shifts it has stimulated. In addition to engaging with academic literature on WCU and rankings, the chapter relies on Canadian print media’s coverage of these issues between 2005-2017. The chapter presents an overview of the Canadian higher education; a brief history of rankings/differentiation; an outline of the global positioning of Canadian universities; a discussion of three key policy shifts; and finally observations on how this global policy discourse has produced both convergence and local versions of the WCU within the Canadian context. It ends by raising questions on Canada’s/Ontario’s future directions given its unique local context and changing global geopolitics.