The political process of international education: Complementarities and clashes in the Manitoba K-12 sector through a multi-level governance lens

Merli Tamtik, Angela O'Brien-Klewchuk


International education has become a policy sector of growing importance to Canada. With increased government regulations, disconnect is often observed between the intended policy outcomes and practice. This study aims to explain this disconnect by analyzing the heterogeneity among stakeholder interests. It focuses on 1) distribution of authority; 2) heterogeneity of values; and 3) complementarities and clashes in policy issues. A multi-level governance (MLG) framework (Chou et. al., 2017; Hooghe & Marks, 2003), as a guiding theoretical lens, is applied to examine the interactions among governments (federal-provincial), non-governmental organizations, school administrators, international students and their families in the context of the Manitoba K-12 sector. Data for this study were collected through document analysis and 40 semi-structured interviews. Findings indicate increased steering power of both the federal and provincial governments to regulate international education with conflicting agendas based on political ideologies. The pursuit of Canada’s economic competitiveness through K-12 international education has led to a rise in the authority of non-governmental actors, including parents and students, to shape the services, programs and curriculum content offered by public schools. The study proposes adding an additional layer to the MLG framework, that of the complexities within stakeholder groups.


international education; K-12; Canada; multi-level governance

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Copyright (c) 2020 Merli Tamtik, Angela O'Brien-Klewchuk


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