September 5, 2012
How Foreign-born Children Integrate in Canada’s Educational System
5 million elementary and secondary students have started school this September, 500,000 of them being foreign born. Thousands of students are sitting in a Canadian classroom for the first time. It is proven that immigrant students, despite their striving background, outperform their native peers. They are more likely to go on to post secondary education than Canadian, American, and children from the United Kingdom, and in many cases these children have parents who are highly educated individuals and choose to come to Canada to help their children pursue similar paths and find not just high education, but better working opportunities.
Many families are invited to join welcoming centres within their municipality. It is often a first point of contact for them, and helps with developing a foundation for new families. The teachers at these welcome centres perform academic assessments of children, as well as help parents with registration and transportation arrangements. Funding for said programs come from federal and provincial divisions, and find the centres a growing necessity especially in urban settings where the percentage of new families is higher.
Families face problems in the integration in the Canadian educational system, where children may be asked to perform and complete assignments that may not meet the expected levels or standards of the parent’s home nations. A lot of immigrant students are either too qualified in one partition of classes, and not enough in the next. For example, students fairing well in Mathematics, may find themselves struggling in English or Social Sciences. Students are also faced with the challenge that children are placed in ‘grades’ dependent on their age, not ability. Although these children continue to face these challenges, they can seek refuge within the welcome centres, integration planning, from peers, teachers, and parents alike, all becoming support avenues for these young individuals.
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