North Island College has strengthened its ties with China.
North Island College (NIC) president Jan Lindsay recently finalized a general agreement of co-operation (GAC) with the Foundation College of China Scholarship Council (FCCSC) at a formal signing ceremony in Beijing, China, while participating in the premier’s mission to China.
The GAC develops joint programming and promotes and expands international understanding, development, and friendship, as well as stimulates and supports educational, professional and intercultural activities and projects among students and staff of the two institutions and their respective communities.
Premier Christy Clark departed Vancouver on Nov. 4 for China and India to promote B.C.
Education has a key role in the mission, and senior representatives from B.C.’s post-secondary institutions are participating in a series of events in both countries. The premier and senior delegation have met with government officials and business leaders in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
“In China, establishing yourself with the support of government is very important, particularly as a smaller institution,” explained Mark Herringer, NIC’s executive director of international education. “That’s why participating in the premier’s mission is so valuable for NIC.”
The agreement improves co-operation in the development of joint business, tourism and hospitality, humanities, sciences and/or interactive media programs at the undergraduate and post-degree diploma level.
NIC will design and deliver these high-quality programs with FCCSC-sponsored university and college partners in China, resulting in students graduating with a dual Chinese/Canadian credential.
Pat Bell, B.C.’s minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, and David Mulroney, Canada’s Ambassador to China, witnessed the signing of the GAC between NIC and FCCSC.
Education is the third-largest export trade sector from B.C. to China, and the agreement’s impact on North Island College campuses and communities could be significant. An increasing number of highly-skilled Chinese students could study at NIC, while college students and faculty will gain important experience with one of British Columbia’s largest trading partners, which in turn contributes to the local economy.
“Building partnerships with international institutions is key to helping our students develop a global perspective,” said Lindsay. “These partnerships open up opportunities for our students to be exposed to a diverse cross section of cultures and alternate ways of interpreting our world.
“Developing an understanding of the Chinese culture is of particular importance, as China is rapidly becoming British Columbia’s key trading partner.
“On this mission, 22 partnership agreements are being signed between B.C. and Chinese post-secondary institutions. It is estimated that more than 2,500 students will come to B.C. communities as a result of these agreements.”
Currently, 10 per cent of NIC’s international students are from China. The college anticipates the number of Chinese students could grow to 20 to 30 per cent of the international student population, providing a new dimension to the economic and social impact of international education on central and northern Vancouver Island.
— North Island College