No fewer than 9,000 Nigerian students are currently studying in Canadian institutions, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Perry Calderwood, announced on Tuesday. Calderwood, who made the disclosure at the opening of the 12th Canadian Education Fair in Abuja, said that Nigeria ranked among countries with highest number of students in Canada. According to him, Canada has become an attractive destination for students from around the world because of high quality education and a wide range of academic, professional and technical training. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 41 Canadian institutions are participating in the two-day fair, holding at Sheraton Hotels and Towers. “Canada has thriving relations with Nigeria and one of our most interesting areas of engagement is the education sector. “Figures from Canada’s immigration authorities show that in 2014, over 8,600 Nigerians were studying in Canada. “These numbers have grown rapidly from just 800 in 2002. “Nigeria represents the 8th largest . of foreign students and their presence enriches Canadian educational institutions and society. “Nigerian students in Canada are worthy ambassadors of their country; each of them represents a new link between the two countries,’’ he said. The envoy said the high commission was committed to facilitating increased educational partnership in joint research, curriculum development and vocational training. According to him, tuition and cost of living in Canada are competitive in comparison to other potential destinations. Calderwood said that foreign students integrated easily into the society as Canada was a multi-cultural society made up mostly of immigrants from around the world. The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, said she was delighted that a large number of Nigerian students were studying in Canada. Represented by the Director of Education Support Services in the ministry, Mrs Justina Ibe, Yemi-Esan said that in the age of globalisation, education and knowledge were key drivers of the global economy. She said that emphasis should be laid on acquiring technical education to build a skilled manpower for economic growth. “May I use this opportunity to stress the importance of strengthening skills development for employability, with particular reference to technical and vocational education. “Technical education contributes to achieving sustainable development, poverty alleviation and greater equity and justice,’’ she said. The permanent secretary said she hoped that the fair would be a forum for prospective students and their parents to learn about the programmes that Canadian institutions offered.