In remote Canada, a college becomes magnet for Indians | India News – Times of India

 In remote Canada, a college becomes magnet for Indians | India News - Times of India

Timmins: On a college campus in the North Canadaeight hours by car TorontoMost of the students filling the classrooms hail from a country half a world away: India. Young men and women in gymnasiums are more likely to be from Punjab or Gujarat than from rural Ontario. Hindi and Punjabi drowned out English in the lunchtime cacophony of the cafeteria.
In the nearby town of Timmins, servers at two new Indian restaurants don’t ask customers how spicy they want their dishes. Gabihas been reopened as a Sikh temple where students from the school, Northern College, gathered on a recent evening.
“We feel like we’re in India,” said Mehrdeep Singh, 20, a general arts and science major. “There are only three or four locals in each class. The rest are from India.”
Northern College traditionally drew its students from the vast, sparsely populated interior of the province of Ontario, a region dominated by miners and loggers. Today, 82% of public college students come from abroad – almost all from India. How a Canadian college — in a remote town most Canadians have never been to, where winters can feel subarctic — became a magnet for young Indians is a story of many forces circling the country.
Public colleges and universities, hard hit by budget cuts, are relying on the higher tuition that international students must pay. For students from abroad, institutions can become a source of permanent residence in Canada, and for Canadians, students help reduce labor shortages and increase the country’s significant productivity.
More than 60% of foreign students at Ontario’s public colleges are from India — a dependency that the province’s auditor general has identified as a threat to the schools’ survival.
As a result, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September alleged that the Indian government was involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist near Canada. Vancouver Earthquakes sent shockwaves through Ontario’s educational institutions.
The incident has strained relations between Canada and India, which have categorically denied any involvement.
At Northern College – where Indians make up 96% of foreign students – officials said they would step up efforts to recruit more students from Africa and Indonesia to reduce dependence on India.
“We don’t want all our eggs in one basket,” said college president Audrey Penner, adding that if tensions between India and Canada persist, “our market could dry up no matter what we try.” Why not.”
According to Canada’s Bureau for International Education, Indians are by far the largest group, making up 40% of international students across the country. China is second with 12 percent.
North Indians appeared to be joining the increasingly affluent segment of the population, with many students saying they were the first in their families to study abroad.
Across Canada, the influx of foreign students is so high that it is blamed for exacerbating the housing shortage. At Northern, the college canceled the admissions of several hundred international students this year when it realized Timmins lacked housing, Penner said. Jobs to help pay for college have also been a challenge.
Still, if students eventually get permanent housing, says 23-year-old Mandeep Kaur, “then I think it’s worth it.”

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