YPSWA organized Round Table about International Education

February 13, 2012 – Toronto – The Round Table about international education and how it affects Ontario and Ukraine, successfully engaged three key note speakers: MPP for Etobicoke Centre and former Chair of Toronto District School Board Donna Cansfield, Consul Anton Rybak from the Consulate General of Ukraine and consultant Taras Paslavskyi from Providence Group, a group that specializes in international education.

The event was organized by the Young Professionals and Skilled Workers Association (YPSWA), whose mandate is to connect youth with businesses, politicians and academia.  YPSWA is composed of recent graduates, who have a keen interest in education. The Round table took place at Richview Public Library.

The round table concentrated its attention on three broad questions: 1) Is international education beneficial to Ontario and Ukraine? 2) What the Governments of Ontario and Ukraine, Ukrainian Canadian community, NGOs and private sector can do to facilitate international education? 3) Can international education be really international if there is no reciprocal movement of students; if Canadian students do not go to Ukraine to study or participate in joint research or educational projects?

MPP Donna Cansfield started the discussion by pointing out that education is a priority for Premier Dalton McGuinty.  His government in 2010 made a commitment to make Ontario the leading jurisdiction for postsecondary education in the world by increasing international student enrolment by 50% while guaranteeing spaces for qualified Ontario students and promote Ontario postsecondary schools abroad to encourage the world’s best students to study in Ontario.  In joining Premier McGuinty in promoting Ontario schools, MPP Cansfield invited the Ukrainian Canadian public to promote elementary, secondary and post secondary institutions to their relatives in Ukraine. She mentioned the High Performer program for elite athletes at Silverthorn Collegiate that can offer international pupils exciting educational experience and opportunities.

Consul Anton Rybak stated that the Government of Ukraine is supportive of Ukrainian students studying in Canada as it is a way to further connect Canada and Ukraine, develop better economic ties in the light of free trade between Canada and Ukraine and Canada-Ukraine Youth Mobility Memorandum that was signed in October 2010. Mr. Rybak also invited Canadians to study at Ukrainian Universities that have extensive physics, natural science and language programs. As an example of a unique Ukrainian language program, he presented the Summer Ukrainian Language Institute and “Step 1 – Ukrainian as a Second Language” manual developed by the Ukrainian linguists at the Summer Ukrainian Language Institute, Lviv Polytechnic National University. This summer, Summer Ukrainian Language Institute in Lviv, Ukraine will use “Step 1” to teach basic level Ukrainian to Canadian students, who want to learn Ukrainian.    

Consultant Taras Paslavskyi concurred with the previous two speakers about benefits of international education to Ontario and Ukraine. He mentioned that challenges to international education are related to study visas and costs.  But he emphasized that costs should be viewed as investment into one’s future. Although statistics show that student visas obtained by the Ukrainian foreign students are on the rise for the past five years, they are still too low if compared with France, China, India or Brazil.  He encouraged the Ukrainian Canadian community to promote Ontario education institutions to their relatives in Ukraine and suggested that it is the surest way to bolster the trend.

After the key note speakers finished their remarks, the floor was opened to questions.  Live discussion followed.

The Round Table was concluded by the moderator, who said that this topic is so large that it is impossible to fully discuss it in one session and that he hopes in the future more will follow.

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