By Azad Haider, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Saint Mary’s University, and Jackson Doughart, AIMS Policy Analyst
As the following two graphics show, enrollment of Saudi Arabian students in Atlantic Canadian universities has been substantial over a short period.
Table 2: Saudi Students as percent of International and Total Students in Canada
|Region||Saudi Students as % of Int. Students||Saudi Students as % of total Students|
It would be consequential – both for universities themselves and the local economy to which they contribute – if this source of international student enrollment were to end. Saudi Arabia will phase out scholarships to universities that do not find themselves in the Top 200 world university rankings. In the table below, we see that no Atlantic Canadian schools finds itself in the top 200. (We note that two Saudi Arabian universities – “King Abdul Aziz University” and “King Saud University” – lie in top 200.)
|University of Toronto||1||1||25||27|
|University of British Columbia||2||2||40||34|
|University of Alberta||5||5||101-150||101-150|
|University of Montreal||6||6||101-150||151-200|
Source: The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
Dalhousie University is the only Atlantic school in the 200-300 range, meaning that it has the best opportunity to recover the loss of Saudi students by improving its ranking. The following table notes Dalhousie’s ranking among several publications.
|World Ranking||Dalhousie University|
|201-250||The Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2015-16|
|201-300||The Academic Ranking of World Universities|
|370||Best Global Universities|
|286||Center for World University ranking|
|277||QS World University Rankings® 2015/16.|
We suggest that Dalhousie University must focus on increasing its quality of education to continue attracting students from Saudi Arabia. At the same time, universities must also communicate to Saudi Arabian authorities that they provide quality education, regardless of ranking.
Departments of the university that individually fall in the top 200 must also be conveyed to the Saudi government. These steps may increase the possibility of departments having a continued enrollment of Saudi students on government scholarship. As we have explained in other posts, the economic impact of losing these students would be very detrimental to the region.
In sum, a better coordination mechanism needs to be installed to attract foreign students from Saudi Arabia.