Before you plan your Canadian education, it’s important to have the facts about education in Canada straight. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you’ll be to make good decisions about how to pay for school and how to best fit into your new community.
Read on to debunk seven common myths about education in Canada, and learn the truth that lies behind them!
Myth1: Free education means lower quality
There’s a long history of believing that if something is free, it can’t be good. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the quality of education in Canada is among the best in the world! Here are some examples PISA tests measure 15-year-olds’ problem solving skills and knowledge in math, reading and science. Canadians ranked at the top of the PISA rankings for math scores in every year since 2003, higher than any other country studied.
Canadian students have consistently ranked as high as third or fourth place internationally on international assessments like TIMMS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Canada has been at or near the top of all these exams since 2000.
Myth 2: There are no good schools outside of Toronto
It’s true that Toronto is one of the most diverse, multicultural cities in the world. But that doesn’t mean there are no other great schools in Canada. In fact, any city with a population over 100,000 people has at least one school worth considering. So if you’re looking for a school outside of Toronto and have been told there aren’t any options for you- don’t believe it!
Myth 3: You need to know French to get a good job
The myth that you need to know French to get a good job is not only false, but also outdated. Canadian employers are increasingly looking for bilingual employees and are willing to train them if they don’t speak the language.
In some cases, they may even offer incentives like higher pay or additional vacation time.
Public education is more expensive than private education: As it turns out, public schools have per-pupil costs lower than those of private schools. Drop-outs have a much harder time getting back into school: With help from government grants (such as OSAP) as well as support services (such as bridging programs), returning to post-secondary school isn’t quite as difficult these days!
Myth 4: Indigenous people don’t value education
Education is a hot topic in Canada, as it should be. A country cannot grow and thrive without investing in its people’s education. That being said, it’s important to know the myths that are out there and to clear up some misconceptions. One of these is that Indigenous people don’t value education.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, many Indigenous people have argued that they have never been given an opportunity to learn. In his famous essay We Have Nothing To Lose But Our Chains, James Baldwin eloquently articulates this sentiment: It seems likely – indeed, inevitable – that the most pressing educational issue confronting us today is how to teach those who were never taught how to read.
Myth 5: Private schools are always better
Private schools are not always better than public schools. While many private schools have a smaller student-teacher ratio, higher quality resources and more individualized attention from teachers, these perks come at a price.
Private school tuition is often much higher than public school tuition and can be difficult for families to afford. Private schools also do not necessarily produce students with a high level of success; the University of Toronto’s recent study on income mobility found that people raised in the bottom 20% income bracket were only able to move up into the top 20% income bracket 19% of the time if they went to a public school while they were able to make this move 28% of the time if they went to a private school.
Myth 6: Going to university is the only way to succeed
The idea that you need to go to university to succeed is a myth. It’s not true that the only way to have a successful career is by going to university. Many people have successful careers without ever attending school at all! In fact, plenty of jobs out there don’t require any formal post-secondary training whatsoever! For example, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and many other tradespeople are needed across the country and they typically learn on-the-job with no formal training required whatsoever.
Myth 7: Homeschooling isn’t as good as public school
Public school isn’t for everyone. Homeschooling is an option for those who are looking for a different educational experience. Canadian homeschoolers have the same curriculum as public school students, but learn at their own pace and style.
Homeschooling also offers more flexibility than traditional schooling, giving kids more of a chance to pursue their passions. It’s not like the old days when children were raised on a farm with no access to formal education or books.
also offer extracurricular activities that enrich a child’s education outside of classroom learning, such as sports teams and drama clubs.