Education in Canada: A Worthwhile Investment
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October 23, 2016
For many foreign national investors, the education system provided by a particular country can be a deciding factor for immigration. Education is the most powerful investment in our future. Not only is it good for the children themselves, but it is essential for building stronger nations. Canada’s education system is one of the many reasons the country stands as a global leader today.
Compulsory Elementary and Secondary School
In Canada, education is publicly funded and overseen by the federal and provincial governments. Each province and territory has its own education system. Compulsory education includes elementary and secondary studies. In most provinces, this is up until the age of 16; in some provinces, until 18. Secondary education ends at grade 12 for all provinces except for Quebec, where high school ends one year earlier. Toward the end of high school, students choose between different fields of study based on their interests. These courses help prepare students for university. In Quebec, students select their field of study after completing high school, in a pre-university college called “CEGEP” (Collège d’enseignement géneral et professional). Students must complete two to three years of CEGEP, depending on their program of choice, prior to applying to university. Students from all other provinces can be admitted to university immediately after completing high school.
After graduating from high school (or CEGEP in Quebec’s case), students can decide whether to continue their studies at a university or vocational school, or enter the workforce right away. Those who elect to further their studies have close to 100 universities and colleges to choose from.
Canada is home to some of the best and most respected universities in the world. According to Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2016-2017, 26 Canadian universities are included in the world’s best. Eight Canadian universities ranked in the top 200 in the world, offering students a world-class education. The cost of university in Canada is also significantly lower than in the United States, for both national and international students.
Canada’s universities enroll many international students, hire international professors, and encourage international collaborations. The Canadian Bureau for International Education conducted a survey of international students and found that over 90% of students were either satisfied or very satisfied with their studies in Canada. Also according to the survey, over 95% of students would recommend Canada as a destination for studies.
Top 5 Universities in Canada
A brief description of each of the 5 top universities in Canada is provided below:
- University of Toronto (World University Rank: #22)
The University of Toronto offers more than 700 undergraduate degrees and 200 post-graduate degrees, and is world renowned for medicine. The downtown campus boasts impressive architecture with several historic buildings and courtyards. More than 60,000 full-time students attend this university, with 15% being international students. Five Canadian Prime Ministers have graduated from this university. Authors Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood are also among the notable alumni.
- University of British Columbia (World University Rank: #36)
This university is among the most competitive in Canada. There are two campuses: one is in Vancouver and the other is in Kelowna. More than 50,000 full-time students attend this university, with a quarter representing international students. Canada’s current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Education.
- McGill University (World University Rank: #42)
Located in Montreal, Quebec, McGill University founded Canada’s first faculty of medicine, and continues to score highly in global rankings for clinical subjects. Students accepted to this university have higher grades than any other university in Canada. More than 300 degrees are offered. Over 40,000 students that come from over 150 different countries make this university one of Canada’s most internationally diverse institutions. McGill University is also included in the list of the 17 most beautiful campuses in the world with its parks and building constructed with grey limestone.
- Université de Montréal (World University Ranking: #103)
This university, located in Montreal, Quebec, is the only French university in Canada’s top five. More than 50,000 full-time students are enrolled with a quarter of them being international. 74% of the students are enrolled in an undergraduate degree. The students are all represented by the university’s student union.
- University of Alberta (World University Ranking: #107)
There are approximately 40,000 students enrolled at the University of Alberta, coming from nearly 150 countries around the world. Class sizes are relatively small, ranging from 10 to 40 students per class. The university generates $12.3 billion annually for Alberta which is equal to 5% of the provinces GDP. The university’s School of Public Health is the first faculty in the country dedicated to disease prevention.
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