canada education

The Canadian school system includes both public and private schools, from kindergarten to university. The responsibility for education lies with the provinces, which means that there are differences in the education system between the provinces. The standard of education in Canada is also very high compared to other western countries, as the Pisa study has recently proven once again. 

Compulsory schooling in Canada begins at the age of 5. Then the children attend the "Kindergarden", which already takes place in the rooms of the elementary school. Most Kindergarden programs last only 2.5 hours a day, while from Grade 1 onwards, classes run from 9am - 3pm. The school year runs from September to June, with July and August being the holiday months. 

In Canada there is no free choice of school, as each school has its catchment area. Every child is entitled to a place in the school of the catchment area, but one can apply to attend another school (cross boundary application). However, success depends on the occupancy rate and other factors at the discretion of the "target school". 

An exception are the private and denominational schools, which can be attended regardless of the place of residence. However, private schools often charge very high tuition fees and are therefore not suitable for everyone. The usual fees here in Greater Vancouver are $1,000 - $1,500 per month for private schools. Denominational schools are usually a little cheaper, but they also charge tuition and you have to be a member of a church. 

Early and Late French Immersion programs are also offered in every province. Thus, many schools also have a French branch, in which the exact same material is taught as in the English counterpart, but in French. Early French Immersion begins in Kindergarten, while Late French Immersion begins in 6th grade. The demand for these programs is very high and the limited number of places is usually allocated by lottery. Again, there are corresponding catchment areas of French schools. As a rule, there are city maps on the websites of the corresponding school districts in which the catchment areas of the schools are listed. 

Since Canadian students spend a significant portion of their day at school, many electives are offered in addition to performance subjects. Drama, computer courses, art, handicrafts, instrumental lessons and outdoor education are very popular with students. Sports are very important in Canada, as they are throughout North America. Each school has its own sports teams that dress in the school colors. Volleyball, basketball, baseball, lacrosse and especially football are popular team games. The school's own band gives concerts several times a year and also provides atmosphere at the sporting events. 

With many activities taking place as part of school events, Canadian students have a strong bond with their schools. They are proud of their school and attend the home and away games of the high school teams. On Saturdays, the various competitions unite parents, teachers and students on the sports field. The school band and cheerleaders support the sports team with snappy music, acrobatic displays and cheers. The Canadian is not deterred by the inclement weather. It's not uncommon for fans to sit outside on the bare benches cheering on their football team in sub-zero temperatures, equipped with hot coffee and bundled up in thick blankets. 

Most schools are very well equipped with computers. Our school district here in Richmond, BC is fully equipped with modern Mac computers. 

The Canadian school system differs from the German one in essential points. Firstly, all schools are all-day schools. Secondly, the Canadian school system is more "permeable" than the German system, as students are not forced into a secondary school, intermediate school or grammar school career after the fourth grade. 

At the end of grade 12, and after passing the exams set by each province, students receive their High School Diploma. To be admitted to university, students must have taken advanced courses in English/French and science in high school. Here in Canada, very good grades are also a prerequisite for courses such as law, medicine and engineering. 

Secondary education at college or university is not free; tuition fees are charged and vary by province and university. However, there are government programs (such as the Registered Education Savings Plan - RESP) that allow families to start saving for their children's education at a young age.