Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards. The country spends more on education (as a percentage of GDP) compared to the OECD average, and is the second highest among G-8 countries.
One of the Best Places in the World to Live
Canada has ranked as one of the top ten places to live in the world since 1994 according to the United Nations (UN) and the Economist Intelligence Unit. In the UN survey Canada earned particularly high marks for its access to education, high life expectancy (due to universal health care system); and low crime and violence rates.
High Standard of Living
Canadians enjoy a standard of living among the highest in the world. Almost 70 per cent of Canadians own their own homes, with a higher percentage owning durable goods, such as automobiles, refrigerators, washing machines, television, telephones and radios. Canada also has an extensive health care system and social security network.
Canada has traditionally been a country of immigrants and has a policy of encouraging multicultural diversity. In this vibrant setting, different perspectives are respected and learning together is encouraged. Almost all of the world’s ethnic groups are represented in Canada. As a result, most ethnic foods and recreational activities associated with specific cultures are available in Canada. Clubs, informal clubs and associations representing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds are also easily accessible. International student advisors at schools can help students get in touch with such groups.
Canadians place a high value on their natural environment. There are currently 42 national parks and national park reserves in Canada. National parks are located in every province and territory, and some have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each province and territory has also designated areas as provincial parks, wilderness areas, ecological and nature reserves. There are over 2000 of these designated areas across the country.
A Safe Place To Study
Canada is considered to be a relatively peaceful, safe and orderly country. Its violent crime rate decreased for ten consecutive years from 1993 to 2003. Unlike its US neighbours to the south, firearms are strictly controlled and generally are not permitted.
A High Tech Country
Canada is a stimulating environment in which to do business and to learn, thanks to the contributions of many bright and talented scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs. The country is an international leader in computer and information technologies and has a reputation for excellence in such sectors as telecommunications, transportation and engineering; and specifically, aerospace, urban transport, microelectronics, medical devices, advanced software, hydroelectric and nuclear power, lasers and opto-electronics, biotechnology, food and beverage processing, geomatics; and ocean and environmental industries.
A Bilingual Nation
Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages, English and French. The vast majority (75 per cent) of Canada’s French-speaking inhabitants live in the province of Québec, which is located in the eastern part of the country but there are French-speaking communities throughout the country.
The Education System in Canada
The education system in Canada encompasses both publicly-funded and private schools, including: community colleges/ technical institutes,career colleges, language schools, secondary schools, summer camps, universities and university colleges.
Education is a provincial responsibility under the Canadian constitution, which means there are significant differences between the education systems of the different provinces. However, education is important to Canadians, and standards across the country are uniformly high. In general, Canadian children attend kindergarten for one or two years at the age of four or five on a voluntary basis.
All children begin Grade One at about six years of age. The school year normally runs from September through the following June but in some instances, January intake dates are possible. Secondary schools go up to Grades 11 or 12, depending on the province. From there, students may attend university, college or Cégep studies. Cégep is a French acronym for College of General and Vocational Education, and is two years of general or three years of technical education between high school and university. The province of Québec has the Cégep system.
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