A recent study by Statistics Canada (Picot and Hou) has shown that children of immigrants in Canada are twice as likely to attend university than students who have both parents born in Canada.
According to the study, of those who go to university:
- 50% are of parents both born outside Canada
- 31% have one parent born in and one outside Canada
- 25% have both parents born in Canada
“Students with Chinese origins are 40 percentage points more likely to attend university than those with Canadian-born parents,” write Picot and Heng Hou. “That means that almost three-quarters of students with Chinese origins attend university, more than twice the rate among students with Canadian-born parents.”
So far the government has tried to make it easier for migrants, on the basis that they are disadvantaged, particularly having English as a second language. However, the study indicates that the language barrier is apparent of migrant students at the age of 15 years, but less apparent by Grade 12, before university. So it appears children of migrants for whom English is a second language soon pick-up English and are able to match children from Canadian English-speaking backgrounds.
The researchers gave their own perspective on the results:
1. Canadian schools do not stream students into vocational or academic programmes in their early teens, as in Europe, which Picot and Hou say give ESL students in Canada time to master a new language before applying for universities.
2. Canadian migration policies tend to favour skilled migrants, so these students may come from better educated, more affluent families, compared to third-generation Canadians.
3. Asian parents in particular are known to put more emphasis on education and university, (for instance the famous Chua, “Tiger Mom”). It may be due to the difference in cultural attitudes then.
While this study calls for policy makers in Canada to do more to help local students, so far the help afforded to minorities is positive for migrants to Canada.
Source: The Vancouver Sun.
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