Kuwait hopes to increase number of scholarship students to Canada from around 200 to over 500, the higher education undersecretary has said. "We hope that our scholarships to Canada will increase as Canada has strong programmes and high teaching and education standards," Dr Khalid Al Saad said. The official was in Canada is to take part in the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) 45th Annual Conference in Ottawa. He said that he was invited to talk at the Canada-Arab Forum held on the sidelines of the conference about Kuwait's scholarship programmes and objectives to encourage Kuwaiti students to pursue their studies in Canadian universities. "My visit to Canada was an opportunity to meet Canadian education officials and Canadian universities to encourage them to increase the number of seats for Kuwaiti students, especially in the medical schools," he said. The Canada-Arab Education Forum explores ways of supporting both Arab world and Canadian education sectors to connect to their mutual benefit and in support of their students' and countries' expectations. It looks at partnerships and models in the field of education, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported on Tuesday. In his paper, Dr Al Saad said that Kuwait's scholarship programme started in the early 1950s "due to the absence of institutions of higher education or universities at that time." "The scholarship destinations were limited to neighbouring countries, mainly Lebanon and Egypt," he said. "Destinations later shifted to developed countries, mainly the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Ireland. Scholarship majors also shifted from humanities to Engineering, Business and medical Sciences." The scholarship programme is an opportunity for the Kuwaiti students to become exposed to new cultures, new values and mindsets. It is also a chance to learn to compete in international universities and be effective participants in the world globalization, Al Saad said. According to the official, Canada is now home to 67 undergraduate students, 35 graduate students and 110 medical residents.