Canadian Education System
The Canadian education system begins with kindergarten through to university. Education in Canada is the responsibility of the provincial government and each province decides about the length of each educational level as well as the curriculum to be taught. Most provinces have three levels of education:
- Elementary (Grades 1 to 8)
- Secondary (Grades 9 to 12)
- Tertiary (Colleges and Universities)
There are two years of Junior Kindergarten (age 5) and Senior Kindergarten (age 6) prior to the Elementary School. Most children begin grade one of the elementary school at or about the age of six. The school year begins in September and continues to June of the next year.
Because of its quality education systems and programs, Canada has always attracted students who want to advance their education and gain access to first-rate education. Many Canadian public schools are now accepting international students into their programs. Almost all public schools are co-educational and offer day programs only. Policies on admitting international students and the fees vary from district to district.
Colleges usually offer technical or occupational programs (up to three years) and programs in applied arts and sciences preparing graduates for the job market. Most candidates for college programs are secondary school graduates, or individuals looking for employment in business or industry sectors. Programs offered by colleges are mostly training-based rather than purely academic. Colleges do not offer academic degree programs; the graduates of colleges are usually offered Certificates, Diplomas, and Associates or Bachelor Degrees. Two of the major types of colleges in Canada are Community Colleges and Career Colleges.
There are almost 280 post-secondary institutions that are members of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). What makes Canadian colleges unique is the employer-centered curricula which respond to the practical and training needs of businesses, industries and public services. Colleges are dynamic institutions, constantly evolving to meet the changing learning needs and skills requirements of the society. They are mostly privately-owned but still regulated by the provincial governments to ensure the standards and the quality of the programs offered is maintained.
Universities, on the other hand, are considered long-term educational endeavors. They are institutions of higher education focusing on academic development and research. Universities offer undergraduate education (Bachelor's Degrees), graduate education (Master's Degree) and post-graduate programs (PhD).
There is no Canada-wide entrance test: each university sets its own admission standards and assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually. This allows them to retain a high degree of academic autonomy.
Canadian universities are internationally renowned for the quality of the education and research that they offer. Degrees from Canadian universities are among the most reputable and are considered to be equivalent to those from American universities and universities in other advanced countries.
Because Canada has two official languages - English and French - an international student can take a degree either at an English language or French language institution.
For more information about Education in Canada, you may visit www.studycanada.ca
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