- Published on Monday, 03 September 2012 03:52
- Written by PUDENCIANA TEMBA
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JOURNALISTS, secondary school career guidance and counsellors, and agents from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda recently visited Canadian universities with the view to acquaint themselves with the education system of the developed partner. The trip was facilitated by the Canadian government through the embassies in the three countries. Staff Writer PUDENCIANA TEMBA who was part of the team sheds light in a series of articles...
MARIAN Duat is a Kenyan who works at the International Students Centre at St Mary's University (SMU). She completed her studies at the same university and has lived in Halifax, Canada for the past 10 years. She is now a Canadian citizen. Duat is one of many Africans and other foreigners who have studied and found themselves settling in Canada. Being the second largest country in the world, Canada has a population of 33 million people. 10 provinces, three territories and tops the UN ranking in multiculturalism, as one out of six people is a new immigrant.
It is officially a bilingual nation (English and French) but over 200 languages are spoken. Provinces are responsible for education. Boasting of world-class education, Canada spends more on education than any other country in the G8. It has prestigious degrees that open doors at home and abroad, according to available data.
"Moreover, our tuition fee structures are affordable and the cost of living is lower than other parts of the developed world," said Adam Robertson, Acting Director of recruitment at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Fees for international students vary among universities but it is roughly from 16,000 dollars per annum upwards.
Almost all universities provide working opportunities for students after their first year, but only if they excel in their programmes, to help them with living expenses, particularly food. "There are work opportunities on and off campus during studies and for up to three years after graduation, safe, peaceful, and politically stable environment makes Canada one of the best countries in the world to live in," boasts Robertson.
Full-time international students, registered with a recognised university or college, and are in possession of a valid study permit, qualify to legally work in Canada. "Students are allowed to apply for Co-op (work) after completion of first year (first semester in some diploma programmes and degrees), but all in all, GPA determines acceptance.
"If a student's performance is poor, she or he is not allowed to work but concentrate on studies and improve, but if the performance is good and professors (lecturers) are comfortable and feel they can cope with both employment and studies, then they are allowed to work," he said.
There are two types of employment namely on-campus work which no permit is required and off-campus work where a work permit must be obtained. These, according to Mr Robertson, are easily obtained through the assistance of international students' centre.
During studies, students are also attached to work for relevant companies in Canada as part of practical. "There are limits on the number of hours that students can work per week, and the main idea is that they must keep their grades up. The average wage starts at between 10 and 15 dollars an hour, and most school campuses have a wide variety of positions available.
From staffing the desk at the school fitness centre, to working at the university library or campus restaurants, to helping professors conduct in-depth research for their fields, the options are plentiful," he said. Once a student has been a full-time for at least six months, he can apply for an Off Campus Work Permit. This document, which is typically valid for as long as the study permit lasts, allows a student to work anywhere in Canada -- so long as you maintain a satisfactory academic standing in studies.
However, similar to on-campus work guidelines, hours of work are strictly limited under this permit, to a maximum of 20 hours per week during study periods, though full-time employment is possible during school vacations. After graduation, foreign students are also allowed to work for three years, the permit of which the universities help them to obtain.
There are chances for students to remain in Canada through the Provincial Nominee Programme and Canadian Experience Class. They are also permitted to apply for citizenship after working for three years after the completion of their studies. "Canada enjoys safe, secure, welcoming communities and people from around the world have made Canada their home, Canada is a truly multi-cultural society," said Ms Duat.
The team managed to visit 13 universities in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver where they were exposed to academic and technological innovation breakthroughs and state-of-the-art lecture halls, laboratories, libraries, workshops and general infrastructure, to mention but a few. The universities include Dalhausie, Saint Mary's, Noca Scotia Community College (NSCC) Waterfront Campus and Kings College in Halifax; Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo, York, McMaster and Toronto, in Toronto; and Thompson Rivers, Simon Frasier and British Columbia in Vancouver.
Generally, the universities offer certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate as well as PhD Programmes in several disciplines but mainly they revolve around Accounting, Architecture, Arts and Social Sciences. Others are Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Business, Commerce, Management, Canadian Studies, Chemical Engineering Chemistry, Civil Engineering Classics, Entrepreneurship, Community Design, Planning, Computer Science Contemporary Studies, and Costume Studies.
Also in the list are Creative Writing, Dental Hygiene, Dentistry, Diagnostic Cytology, Diagnostic Medical, Ultrasound, Disability Management, Early/ Modern Studies, Earth Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Emergency Health Services Management, English, Environment, and Sustainability and Society.
Others are Environmental Design Studies, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, European Studies, Film Studies, Finance, Food Science, French Gender and Women's Studies, and Health Sciences, History of Science and Technology, Industrial Engineering Informatics, International Business, International Development Studies, Journalism Studies, Kinesiology, Knowledge Management, Law and Society, Leadership and Organizations Management, are also on the list.
Others are Globalization, Managing People and Organizations, Marine Biology, Marketing Logistics, Materials Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Meteorology Microbiology and Immunology. Music Neuroscience, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Nursing
Occupational Therapy, Oceanography, Pharmacy, Philosophy, Physics and Atmospheric Sciences, Physiotherapy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Sector Management, Radiological Technology, Recreation, Religious Studies, Respiratory Therapy, Social Work Sociology & Social Anthropology, Statistics and Sustainable Resources, Tourism and Theatre Drama are also taught.
Admission requirements vary, but mostly it requires secondary school completion credits for academic admission. Students are required to be at least 17 years old, in most universities.