Education system of Canada

Education System of Canada

Canadians place great importance on learning, and have developed a first-rate education system with high standards. Canada is among the leaders in the G8 in terms of its per capita investment in education, leading to high- quality and well-respected faculty, programs, and institutions. A Canadian degree, diploma or certificate is well regarded in business, government and academic circles around the globe. Education is important to Canadians, and standards across the country are uniformly high. Each Canadian province has its own quality assurance mechanisms to ensure high educational standards are met, and there are robust laws, policies, and procedures that govern the operation of all post-secondary institutions. Canadian students are consistently ranked among the top academic performers in reading, math, and science according to ongoing OECD and PISA research. Canada has an excellent reputation for transfers between levels/types of educational education, making studying here flexible and exciting—students don’t run into the bureaucratic roadblocks common in less flexible education systems. Moreover, Canada is known for its laws allowing eligible students to work in Canada while and after studying, and for providing opportunities for eligible graduates to attain permanent residence.

Elementary and Secondary School (K-12) Education:

International students not only receive excellent education at the K-12 levels, but also caring and supportive environments to live in, such as homestay with a Canadian family or dormitory at a private/boarding school. Over 90% of Canadian students attend public schools in Canada, but there are also wonderful private and independent school options. Courses are taught in English, French, or another language, depending on the school and its location. Some schools offer immersion programs to learn a second language. At the higher grades in K-12, core courses required for graduation ensure subject-specific curriculum standards are met, while elective choices enable students to explore interests and expand their knowledge in preferred subjects. Classrooms are made up of students from all different ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds, and students are encouraged to be global citizens and to value tolerance and respect for differences. As early as elementary school, parents from around the world send their children to attend one of Canada’s K-12 schools.

Colleges, Cégeps, and Polytechnics:

There are 152 colleges in Canada with over 1,000 college campuses within a range of settings—from urban centres to remote communities. Programs are offered in French, English, or both depending on the region. Many also offer combined distance-learning opportunities. Over 8,000 programs with varying lengths of required study are offered nationwide. Shorter two–three-year diploma programs train technicians, technologists, mid-level managers, and service providers. There are also one-year post-graduate certificates available to Canadian and international university graduates who wish to acquire applied and advanced skills for specific areas of employment. More than 5,000 Indian university graduates are currently in Canadian colleges and polytechnics taking such post-graduate certificates in order to obtain employment back home or in Canada. Three-to-four-year bachelor’s degrees provide job-focused education in fields such as industrial design, e-commerce, criminal justice, and construction science and management. The college school year parallels the university calendar, and runs from September through April or May, with spring and summer courses often available. Some institutions have a semester or trimester system allowing students to begin programs in September, January, or May. Quebec Cégeps offer two streams of education: three-year vocational and two-year pre-university programs. Canadian college credentials are approved by provincial or territorial governments. Programs may also be accredited by independent industry or professional employer organizations. Degree-granting colleges are a relatively new phenomenon, with the degree-granting power in the hands of each province. To ensure rigorous academic quality, the provincial ministries of education determine which institutions are allowed to offer bachelor’s and applied degrees.


Canadian universities consistently appear in rankings of world-class institutions. The Times 2012–2013 World University Rankings placed eight Canadian universities in the top 200 (and five of these in the top 100). As well, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s prestigious 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities placed four Canadian institutions in its top 100. Canada’s universities are recognized for a variety of programs and qualifications that meet the highest international standards. Institutions across the country offer thriving campus communities supporting world-class research environments. Over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered at more than 100 institutions nationwide. Programs range from business, astronomy, and international relations, to genetics, fine arts, and more. As they study, students learn the inter-cultural skills to make a positive contribution to the global economy upon entering the workforce.

Types of Certifications:

Certificate programmes are available at UG as well as Pg level. Most certificate programs are one year duration.
Diploma is the qualification awarded on the basis of two or three year’s successful study, and is offered at colleges.
Undergraduate/bachelor’s degrees are awarded by a university after four years of full-time study, and lead to graduate level studies. A pre-requisite to participate in undergraduate level-studies is a minimum 70% in 12th standard and a minimum score of 80 in TOEFL iBT/IELTS with an overall band score of 6.0(5.5 in each band).
Graduate /Masters degree: A pre-requisite to participate in Masters Degree is a bachelors/undergraduate degree (4 years) passed with 70% average, and a GRE or GMAT test whichever applicable to the course along with score of 90 in TOEFL iBT/IELTS with an overall band score of 6.5(6.0 in each band).
For all Masters Degrees most schools require qualifications comparable to a Canadian Bachelor’s (Honors) degree (Four Year Degree Program). That means a minimum of 16 years of formal education. In the Indian context, it implies qualifying in a professional four-year degree like engineering or other such courses. But for students who have completed a three-year degree program in India, the advisable plan for action to maximize eligibility for Canadian graduate school is to apply for a Master Degree here in India. A one-year university affiliated program will make up for the fourth year of a Canadian Undergraduate degree.
M.B.A programs will typically require a minimum of two to three years of relevant work experience, a 4 year degree passed with 70% average, GMAT score of minimum 580-600, 90 in TOEFL iBT/IELTS with an overall band score of 6.5(6.0 in each band), and are generally 2 years in duration, though a few institutes offer a fast track option.
Post Graduate Diplomas / Graduate Certificates are one year cost-effective, job-oriented programs offered by colleges. Pre-requisites are a bachelors degree (3 or 4 years) with upper second class, or a 3-year diploma after 12th standard and IELTS score of 6.0/6.5.
Doctorate or Ph.D. is a degree ranking above a master’s degree, and generally requires four to seven years to complete full time. A combination of course work, original research, and a thesis is required. Prerequisites are typically a master’s degree, although direct entry from a bachelor’s degree to a Ph.D. program may be possible depending on the school and programs, 90 in TOEFL iBT/IELTS with an overall band score of 6.5(6.0 in each band)and GRE general and/or subject test with a score of minimum 1200.
Post-doctoral programs are much more specialized, research oriented programs. One of the most important factors in granting post-doctorate fellowships is the personal network established between the interested applicant and the faculty member within the institution.

Language Programs:

An estimated 1 billion people are currently learning English worldwide. French is a key language of diplomacy, frequently used within top international organizations. Language proficiency is the most important requirement for admission into a Canadian university or college. As an officially bilingual country, Canada is committed to excellence in English and French proficiency, and this is reflected in its education programs at all levels. Every year, more than 185,000 international students attend accredited language programs in Canada, knowing that the combination of in-class training and the opportunity to practise conversation through everyday living will ensure success. Over 185 accredited language programs are offered nationwide and Language study programs may include:

• General English/French
• Academic English/French
• Business English/French
• Technical English/French (medical, legal, etc.)
• Internships or work experience
• Summer or winter activity or camp programs
• Teaching training programs (CELTA, TESL, TESOL)
• Test preparation (Cambridge test, CANtest, CAEL,IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, DELF)

There are two types of institutions delivering language programs:

• Public: Where internal programs at the post-secondary institution (i.e., the college or university) allow entry, upon completion of the language program, to undergraduate, graduate, and graduate studies.
• Private: Where a private language school provides the training. In many cases, language schools have agreements in place with colleges and universities that allow direct entry into academic/trade programs or that are integrated into a college or university’s language program.

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