Province touts new International Education Practitioner Program as first-of-its-kind in Canada

(File photo/Jayda Taylor)

The provincial government has announced a new education program that they say will improve international education training to post-secondary students.

The government launched the new International Education Practitioner Program, touting it as a first-of-its-kind program in Canada. Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky said the program is a key component in the government’s International Education Strategy.

“The International Education Practitioner Program will deliver international education training to the post-secondary education sector to support a consistent level of understanding and knowledge of international engagement across the province,” Makowsky said in a release.

“This program builds capacity within the sector to host international students and helps meet commitments in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan by positioning the province as a study destination of choice.”

Makowsky said the program will ensure

The International Education Practitioner Program supports capacity building and leadership in Saskatchewan’s post-secondary education sector and will ensure service delivery of international education is consistent across the province. Students benefit from receiving the same experience and level of support regardless of where they study in Saskatchewan, and institutions benefit by gaining equal additional training to support students.

“The International Education Practitioner program will provide our practitioners with tremendous opportunities to share their experiences, continue learning as professionals and build stronger networks across our province,” University of Saskatchewan Acting Director of Strategic Enrolment Management Pirita Mattola said.

“The program will help build capacity, make progress toward international education goals in Saskatchewan, and play a key role in contributing to our collective competitiveness and responsiveness in a changing International Education environment.”

The Ministry of Advanced Education is partnering with the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) to deliver this training at three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The curriculum includes information on student recruitment and admission practices, international student services and supports, international relations and partnership development practices, and international student mobility specific to Saskatchewan.

“CBIE, Canada’s national voice of the international education sector, is delighted to partner with the Government of Saskatchewan in the design and delivery of this innovative and unprecedented capacity-building initiative targeting international education practitioners across the province,” CBIE President and CEO Larissa Bezo said.

“The international education sector is a critical contributor to provincial growth strategies across the country and we applaud the Government of Saskatchewan’s vision to standardize and further professionalize this important sector.”

International practitioners are employees of post-secondary education institutions who are nominated to participate in the program. By March 2023, it is anticipated up to 78 people will complete the program.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, international students contributed more than $252 million annually to Saskatchewan’s economy.