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Education System in Canada

The education system of Canada is governed by the territorial and provincial governments, which adds slight differences in the nature of education in these provinces. For example, for each province, the grade to begin with and end, vary from one province to another. The system covers the following segments of education:

  • Elementary
  • Secondary and
  • Post-secondary education

Each territory and province offer universal, free elementary and secondary schooling up to 12 years of age. However, Quebec just offers this up to 11 years of age. For the ages between 15 and 18, education is compulsory in almost all provinces and territories.

Types of schooling and education:

Elementary schooling: Children start schooling at the age of 5. This segment of schooling includes grade 1 to 6 followed by 2 years of junior high/middle school. For areas that do not have the middle school provision, elementary education continues up to grade 8. However, Quebec is a little different from the rest of the country. Students here continue elementary education from grade 1 to 6 and then move straight into high school/secondary education.

Secondary schooling: Secondary schooling typically starts from grade 9 and continues through grade 12. The regions without a middle school system start secondary schooling from grade 7. Quebec conducts secondary schooling from grade 7 to 11. Students there then graduate to Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP, basically a pre-university college publicly funded, and only available in the province of Quebec) for 2 years before applying to a university.

Post-secondary schooling: Vocational school, community college, university and graduation school all cover the post-secondary education that includes the career college.

Following types of Certification are offered by the post secondary education provider institutes :

  • Certificate : is a qualification awarded upon successful completion of a programme which is usually one year in length.
  • Diploma : is a qualification awarded on the basis of one or two year's of successful study.
  • Advanced Diploma : is a 3 years program some of which may lead to a Bachelor's Degree.
  • Bachelor's Degrees : Usually awarded by Universities/ University Colleges/ Community Colleges after four years of full-time study and lead to graduate level studies.
  • Post Graduate Diplomas / Certificates :It lead to a Master's Degree. These programs have work terms which provide full-time opportunities to gain practical experience along with theoretical studies. A typical co-op term lasts 12 to 17 weeks. The prerequisites to participate in these programs is a Bachelor's Degree of 3 or 4 years duration.
  • Master's Degree : is an option for undergraduates who have an interest in further learning and research, and for those who want to broaden their career possibilities. It is for 2 yrs duration and can be pursued after a 4 yrs Bachelors or a 3yrs Bachelors & a 1 year Post Graduate Diploma from Canada.
  • Doctorate or PhD : is a degree ranking above the Master's Degree and generally requires four to seven years to complete

Co-operative Work Term

Co-op is a work term provided as part and parcel of the course curriculum. It provides an excellent opportunity to students to gain first hand practical experience related to the field of specialization. Students can gain on-the-job experience while continuing to study . Co-op provides full time opportunities that last for 12 to 17 weeks.

Co-Operative work programmes, combine courses in many subjects with relevant work, giving students an invaluable head start with their careers. This assists International students in connecting with the Canadian job market and developing a network with the Canadian companies.

Types of Post Secondary Institutions :

Technical/ Career Colleges : These are privately owned and operated with the main objective of preparing students for the job market after a short period of instruction. The emphasis at career colleges is on practical skills over a broad range of programmes.

Community Colleges & Technical Institutes : They typically have more career oriented, practical/ technical related curricula, with small classes, off-campus course offerings, a greater ratio of laboratory space to classroom space, and an interactive teaching style. Attending a community or technical college for the first two years of university education is a popular option for international students. It allow you to prepare for a career or to prepare for transfer to complete your bachelor's degree from the college or university of your choice.

University Colleges : As a component of the Canadian University system, University Colleges offer students a choice of either academic oriented university degree programmes or the more practical-oriented college diplomas and certificates.

Universities : Canadian Universities are largely public funded and as a result, offer consistently high quality education at lower tuition rates for International students than their counterparts in competing countries. They offer a broad range of courses and degrees from Undergraduate to Doctorate and also certificate and professional degrees. Class sizes in universities are generally large.