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Education Systems in Canada
In Canada each province is responsible for its own education systems.
In general, there are three levels of education systems in Canada: (i) Kindergarten to Grade 8; (ii) Grade 9 to Grade 12; and (iii) Post-Secondary education.
Kindergarten may further be divided into Junior and Senior Kindergarten for four and five years old children, respectively.
Grade 9 to 12 students are enrolled in a secondary school system, which is similar to a high school system in the U.S.A.
Some cities and towns may have a junior high school system, which accommodates children from Grade 7 to Grade 9.
In the Province of Ontario there is Grade 13, which is a required step for all students who want to attend a degree-granting university.
This feature has been unique for Ontario, but the Province has decided to abolish it in order to be consistent with other provinces' secondary education systems.
By Year 2003, when Grade 13 is completely abandoned, the number of students entering a university or college is expected to be almost double (called “double cohort”).
Post-secondary education system in Canada includes universities, community colleges, university colleges, and other private institutions providing post-secondary education, such as skill training and continuing education.
A university is a standing-alone, degree-granting institution that offers certificates, diplomas, and Bachelor/Master/Ph.D. degrees.
There are about 50 universities throughout the country, most of which are publicly funded institutions.
Some of the most recognized universities include the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and Queen's University.
A community college offers a variety of programs for students who want to learn technical skills, skills that they can apply to the real world quickly.
These programs are usually one or two years in length emphasizing hand-on experience in classroom setting.
It grants certificates and diplomas and offers a variety of training courses for people who want to upgrade themselves with the current markets and new technologies.
A university college, as the name implies, is somewhat in between a community college and a university.
This type of institution is common in British Columbia, the most western province in Canada.
It grants certificates and diplomas by itself.
However, it is not able to grant university degrees alone, although it often offers all the courses required for a university degree.
The curriculum for a degree program is usually designed in conjunction with a university, which actually grants degrees to the university college students.