Canada and Mexico extend cooperation in education

Today, Canada and Mexico extended their bilateral cooperation in education with a flurry of joint agreements. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed new partnerships between the educational institutions that will increase the flow of students, ideas, and opportunities between the two countries.

Canada is a leader in higher education, ranking first among Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries with 50 percent of the adult population having a post-secondary diploma or degree.

Canada’s International Education Strategy sees Mexico as one of six key priority markets that will help Canada build on strong advantages and become more prosperous, innovative and competitive by capitalizing on the vast opportunities that currently exist.

Canada and Mexico have well-established and growing cooperation in education. There are already more than 400 agreements between Canadian and Mexican higher education institutions. Educational institutes from Canadian provinces and territories and the Mexican States have extensive collaboration with each other.

Both governments also offer scholarships to students or researchers from each other’s country. A memorandum of understanding on educational cooperation (1998) and on youth mobility (2010) lay the groundwork for this collaboration.

At the 11th Canada-Mexico Partnership meeting in November 2015, the Human Capital Working Group had concluded that improved linkages between industry and academia were desirable.

Under the ELAP (Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program), the Government of Canada provides around 75 to 100 scholarships annually for Mexican postsecondary students. They can study or conduct research in Canada for up to six months.

For the academic year 2015-2016, 98 Mexican students received an ELAP scholarship to study in colleges and universities across Canada. Since 2009, nearly 600 Mexicans have come to Canada under this program, making Mexico the 10th largest source of international students for Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and President Peña Nieto of Mexico announced their intention to make it easier for students to travel back and forth between Canada and Mexico on exchange.

The two leaders welcomed the signing of a bilateral industrial research agreement. The agreement is between Mitacs, a Canadian, not-for-profit organization that funds research and training, and Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT).

This agreement will allow up to 20 Mexican graduate students to go to Canada and up to 20 Canadian graduate students to go to Mexico under the Globalink Partnership Award program. The Mitacs Globalink Partnership Award program allows recipients the opportunity to take part in a 16- to 24-week research project with an international industry partner.

As part of this new partnership, the President, and the Prime Minister announced their intent to foster international work-integrated learning opportunities for students from Canada and Mexico, which will allow more young Canadians and Mexicans to be able to find meaningful work at the beginning of their careers.

A memorandum of understanding between CALDO, a consortium of Canadian research universities, and Mexico’s National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) to promote academic, scientific and cultural activities in areas of common interest was signed.

An agreement between Colleges and Institutes Canada and ANUIES to establish a framework for collaboration on applied research in higher education was also signed.

A consortium of 12 Canadian postsecondary institutions specializing in Indigenous issues is formalizing its relationship with Mexico’s 12 intercultural universities for better support of indigenous youth and women in both countries through joint education activities. These include Lakehead University, Cape Breton University, First Nations University of Canada, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Nipissing University, Trent University, University of Lethbridge, University of Manitoba, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Regina, University of Winnipeg and Vancouver Island University.

Two documents between Lakehead University and CONACyT (Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology) were also signed. One is a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in higher education including academic programs for Indigenous/Aboriginal women. The second is an agreement to establish joint graduate scholarships to support Mexican students who have gained admission in masters and Ph.D. programs at Lakehead University.

In addition, Lakehead University students would also be eligible for funding to carry out research at CONACyT-certified higher education institutions in Mexico.

The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that young Canadians receive the education and training they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

International education is at the heart of Canada’s current and future prosperity and will help to strengthen the middle class and those working to join it.

“Education is a passport to greater opportunities, stronger relationships, and a better future. Today’s announcement will expand our people-to-people ties for generations to come, and give young Canadians and Mexicans the opportunities they need for the future they want.” -The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

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