A recent study by Garnett Picot and Feng Hou of Statistics Canada reveals that young Canadians, with immigrant backgrounds, are twice as likely to attend university in comparison to students who have both parents born in Canada.
The study revealed that 50 percent of students who immigrated to Canada went to university, as against 31 percent of students who had one parent who is an immigrant, and 25 percent of students who had both parents born in Canada.
According to government policy, public officials need to implement affirmative action programs for visible minorities, immigrants and students who study English as a second language. Ironically, these students fare much better than those with Canadian parents do.
Conventionally, officials have felt that students in North America who study English as a second language face a natural disadvantage as opposed to American children. However, the Picot and Hou Study refutes this theory. They declare that the barrier of language only makes an appearance on standardised literacy tests for students at the age of 15 years. Once these students reach Grade 12, a vast majority of them overcome this challenge – especially Chinese students and Asian females.
Picot and Hou feel that several reasons contribute to the success of students with immigrant backgrounds. Firstly, they feel that Canadian schools do not stream their students into vocational programs in their early teens. This practice gives ESL students in Canada sufficient time to master a new language before they apply for universities.
Secondly, Canadian immigration policies benefit skilled and wealthy immigrants. Consequently, Asian immigrants are more affluent and well educated than even third generation Canadians are.
Lastly, Asian immigrant parents put in additional efforts to ensure that their children succeed in Canadian universities. This gives these students a significant advantage as opposed to students having both parents born in Canada.
Oxford economist Paul Collier believes that high-immigrant Western countries have never addressed the issue of the under-achieving domestically born students. They have neither developed universal programs nor affirmative-action plans. Consequently, the situation remains at an impasse.
Source: The Vancouver Sun