Higher Study in CANADA

HIGHER STUDY IN CANADA Canada, which comprises ten provinces and three territories, is the second largest country in the world. Here, educat...

HIGHER STUDY IN CANADACanada, which comprises ten provinces and three territories, is the second largest country in the world. Here, education is the responsibility of the provincial government while the federal government plays a marginal role. Each province boasts of quality post-secondary institutions and competes with the others.
Admitting that the absence of a cohesive international plan is a challenge for Canada, Rodney Briggs, President, Canadian Education Centre Network (CECN), says,“It is tough when we have to compete with other countries such as the US, UK and new entrants like New Zealand and Australia, who are also doing well in the overseas market. It can be confusing for Indian students with every province marketing itself as an individual entity.”
A high rejection rate for student visas and the requirement of 16 years of education for admission into a postgraduate programme (the Indian system is 12+3, ie, 15 years) hasn’t helped Canada score well with Indian students.
A high rejection rate for student visas and the requirement of 16 years of education for admission into a postgraduate programme (the Indian system is 15 years, 12+3) hasn’t helped the country score well with Indian students. Consider this: As compared to 24,600 students heading to the US, 18,000 to the UK and 15,600 students to Australia in the last academic session, only 2,400 students chose Canada for higher studies. So, what does Canada have to offer Indian students?

Opportunities and strengths

A friendly culture is the USP. States Errol Xavier Lobo, Graduate Recruitment Advisor, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal,“Canada is a safe country and there is no racial tension. People are very warm and welcoming, which is why, on completing my MBA, I decided to stay back and work.”
To satisfy the varying requirements of students, the country offers several higher education options: Universities have semesters and offer UG/ PG degrees and PhDs.They are research-intensive and have one or two intakes, primarily in September and January. University-colleges offer university degrees as well as college diplomas and certificate programmes.They may also offer combined degree-diploma programmes and university transfer programmes. Community colleges offer diploma certificates and applied degree programmes, which are hands-on and industry-driven, preparing students for the job market. Career colleges provide specialised training, and their focus is on business, technology, service industries and arts.
Every student has a different requirement and accordingly chooses his or her institution.
For Delhi’s Samarth Modwal, it was McGill University’s research reputation that made him choose it, while it was Sheridan’s strong links with the animation industry that reeled in Mumbai’s Christopher Diaz.
Many students like Leo Chang prefer a college to a university, as the class size is smaller.“The strength of a class is between 30 and 40 students. We receive personal attention, and the teachers know us by our names,” says Chang. Originally from Calcutta, Chang is is currently studying at Kwantlen University College.
For Hritish, who completed class 11 from GD Goenka in Delhi before taking admission to Columbia College, Vancouver, to finish high school, university was an intimidating proposition. He shares,“The college is helping me get the grades required while also letting me ease into a foreign culture before I take the giant leap into the University of British Columbia.”
The flexibility in study plans as well as in academic programmes helps students to tailor their education to meet their goals. Janet Hurd, Director, Student Recruitment, University of Toronto, underlines that students could choose their courses from different disciplines. This helps, says a science student, to step out from his discipline and get a taste of Arts.
Another example is McMaster University, Toronto, which has redesigned its computer software programmes so that students can choose from ten degree options in areas such as computer science, game design, business informatics, mechatronics and software engineering. Co-op or internship is also available with several academic programmes across institutions that provide students with valuable work experience.
Elaborating on credit transfers between institutions, Hazel Siromoni, Director, Education Projects, CEC-India, says,“In many provinces like British Columbia, the transfer agreements between institutions are well-articulated. A student may start off, for example, in a business programme at the undergraduate level at a college or a university college for two years and have all his credits transferred to a university without losing any time and instead gaining a Bachelor’s degree in business. The student may actually earn a diploma and a degree for a four-year programme. This, of course, is assuming that the student has maintained the grade point average for his credits to be transferred to a university.”
Students also receive hands-on training and apply their book knowledge by working on machines and with tools that meet the industry standards. For example, students of hospitality run their own restaurant, while students of medicine practice on robots in simulated labs. “We want our students to have the skills to meet industry demands, therefore, we work closely with the industry to keep our programmes relevant,” says Zane De Serrano, Manager, Recruitment, Externships and Career Services, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, George Brown College.
A few other changes in the Canadian landscape can be turned into opportunities by Indian students. These include the demographic decline in the country leading to a high demand for fresh workforce. Besides, thanks to the IT and natural gas and oil sectors, the economy is booming - leading to several job opportunities.
And some Indian students are making the most of it. Take Chetan Mallikarjunaiah, for instance. An MBA student at Schulich Business School, Chetan is working as a summer intern with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).“There are a lot of job opportunities and I plan to get some experience that would help me wherever I decide to work. Most companies, even in India, are now looking for employees who have global experience,” he states.

Student support

The international office provides support to international students; they can approach the office for information on accommodation, travel, banks, and so on. Sometimes, students are paired with a senior from their country who helps them to settle down. McGill University has a phone counselling system - a student answers aspirants’ queries about the university. Concordia University has a drop-in centre for students and parents, and provides campus tours. Most institutions have societies and groups on campus that organise events, which is a good way to interact and make friends.
There is good news for students keen to pursue postgraduate studies. The recent federal budget announced funding initiatives for graduate students, committing CAD$120 million to the Canada Graduate Scholarships. Indira Samarasekera, President, University of Alberta, is excited about funding to attract international students.“As countries like China, India and Brazil rapidly develop, we need to be building relationships with them, and one of the best ways to do that is through students,” he avers.

THE COST FACTOR

Tuition fees: Canadian dollars (CAD$) 8,000 to 15,000

Living expenses: AD$10,000 (Fees vary depending on the institute and programme. Living expenses may vary depending on the city)

KEY WEBSITES

www.studycanada.ca/india

www.india.gc.ca

www.aucc.ca

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Higher Study : Higher Study in CANADA
Higher Study in CANADA
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