Canadian language programmes hit the strongest growth


A report from Languages of Canada reveals that there is a huge growth in language enrollments for 2017. There is about 10.3% growth in student numbers from 2016 to 2017. The survey data reveals that there were around 1, 49,379 students enrolled in language studies in 2017, up from 1, 35,425 the previous year.

There were earlier minor fluctuations in membership; the growth rate over the last two years was closer to 12% when tallying enrolments for the base of programmes that were Languages Canada members in both 2016 and 2017. Hence, this growth can be considered as the significant growth recorded in the annual survey for some years.
Also, the total volume of student week increased from 1,501,083 in 2016 to 1,610,495 last year which is just a gain of 7%. Showing the pace of growth between headcount and student weeks, the average length of study declined minimally in 2017, down to 10.8 weeks from 11.1 in 2016.
Canada: The most preferred study destination
The top five countries for Canadian language programmes in 2017 were: Brazil (23,533), Japan (20,589), China (16,197), South Korea (15,040), and Mexico (12,780). Brazil moved ahead of Japan previous year to take up the number one position. However, Brazil & Mexico are the top gainers among the other three countries.
This pattern reflects that there is a huge popularity in Canada as a study destination among Brazilian language students over the last three years. Also, the current political context in the US appears to have also contributed to a spike in the already-strong interest in studying in Canada among Mexican language students. Along with Mexico’s 41% of growth in students numbers from 2016 to 2017. The fastest growing source country last year was Vietnam with 203% rise.
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There has been a lot of promotion going on, but what we are really seeing is the principle of alignment at work. When the collective efforts of institutions and schools, representative associations, and governments are all aligned, then everything works, as quoted by Languages Canada Executive Director Gonzalo Peralta.
Majorly, looking at the strong performance in 2017 for Mexican and Vietnamese markets. The Languages Canada Executive Director feels that a greater alignment of government policy with the recruiting efforts of Canadian institutions has been the major factor. Also, in terms of future market development, Languages Canada members see China, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Colombia, and Turkey as their top priorities for marketing and recruitment.
A significant impact
The association estimates that a language student in Canada’s direct spending amounts to CDN$1.6 billion in export revenues in 2017 (US$1.2 billion). Seeing the overall enrolment gains over the two years, this is surge by just over 11% from 2016.
These estimates, however, excludes the knock-on effects of students carrying on to further studies after their language programmes. This is a noteworthy aspect of additional economic impact in that the survey data indicates that roughly a third of all language students in Canada intend to carry on to post-secondary studies after building their language skills.

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