Think-tank advises investment in Asian languages for Canadian employees

VANCOUVER-Canada needs to invest on Asia-related education and skills training to further promote economic ties with Asia, according to results of an opinion poll released by a Canadian think-tank on Asia ties.

Sixty percent of respondents who employ Canadians for Asia-related work say it is difficult to find qualified Canadians with the appropriate level of knowledge and awareness of Asia to help the company or organization succeed in Asia, said the poll conducted by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is calling for greater investment in Asia-based studies and programs in order for companies to better succeed in developing ties with the burgeoning region. In this photo, employees of Indian software company Satyam walk outside company headquarters in Hyderabad. Noah Seelam/AFP

“We need to invest in education and skills training programs that reflect the global reality of a rising Asia,” Yuen Pau Woo, president and CEO of APF, an independent, non-profit think-tank on Canada’s relations with Asia, said Monday.

“Canada will not be able to participate fully in Asian business opportunities or have influence in the region unless we build Asia competency into our education system, and make Asia knowledge a priority for businesses, government and civil society leaders,” Woo added.

In the Points of View Asia Pacific survey, Canadians who are engaged in Asia were asked to examine different dimensions of Canada-Asia relations when it comes to education, and the role it might play in helping Canada build closer relations with Asian countries.

The poll showed 8-in-10 practitioners consider education to be the most critical component of any strategy to build closer relations with Asian countries.

Among various initiatives, strong emphasis was placed on putting a greater priority on the teaching of Asian languages in the country’s elementary and secondary schools, as well as creating greater mobility opportunities, such as study abroad, co-op, externships for higher education students, according to the poll.

Respondents working in post-secondary institutions supported a priority focus on developing and improving exchange programs with Asian institutions, as well as developing joint/dual/double programs, it showed.

Data was collected between Oct 19 to 26 with a total of 374 people who are engaged in Asia through professional and research interests completing all or part of the survey questionnaire, the APF said.—IANS