Education Around the World – Canada

The flag of Canada is a backdrop of the illustration that contains several education-related objects.


It is an understatement to say Canada is beautiful. There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe its depth and richness. It may be a cold country, but it is filled with warm people famous for their politeness. The nature found in Canada is otherworldly. There are famous landmarks such as Niagra Falls and the Rockies, with so many other natural wonders. Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are so picturesque, it is difficult to believe they exist. Baffin Island’s untouched nature looks like a dreamy destination.

The wildlife in Canada matches its scenery. Canada is home to the white Kermode bear, which is the only species of white bears in the world (yes, you did not misread that. Polar bears are not white). The Kermode bears were protected by native Canadians, who kept their whereabouts a secret from colonizers for decades. Canada is a nation with so much depth and history with otherworldly beauty and wildlife (Shoumatoff, 2015). Like its nature and history, Canada’s education system is one of the best in the world; its government prioritizes the development of its education system.

In Canada, some kindergartens are full-day kindergartens that interact with the children using a play-based learning curriculum. This new curriculum was designed to encourage a culture of inquiry among children. Teachers also hope this will encourage children to develop healthy friendships with other children in kindergarten. The activities are designed to challenge children to explore and investigate their surroundings. Educators want children to ask questions and be curious about the world they live in, and these types of classes will help children think creatively and solve simple problems (Ontario Government, 2018).


A skyline representing Canada’s iconic city with a backdrop of Canadian map.
A skyline representing Canada’s iconic city with a backdrop of a Canadian map. Illustration by Amruta Awate.

In one activity, children will make bird feeders with their teachers and place the feeders outside the classroom. They will then record their findings about their feeder and find out if birds like it or not. If birds do not visit their feeder, the teacher will bring it back inside so the children can make necessary adjustments. The activity is designed to let children learn from their failures and make changes to get new results. Children who go through these programs will acquire a plethora of creative thinking skills. They will think about the world around them as a place to explore and they will seek answers to the questions they have about our world (Ontario Government, 2018).

Canada’s standard of education is very high across every stage of its education system. Canada quietly made its way up the international education rankings. In 2017, Canada was in the top ten for Pisa tests in science, math, and reading. Pisa tests are designed and distributed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or OECD (Coughlan, 2017).

This was a surprise for many experts because small, compact countries like Singapore typically do very well in Pisa tests. Small and wealthy countries have a national strategy for a universal education system. Canada does not have a national education system. Each province is autonomous and makes decisions about the curriculum within its boundaries (Coughlan, 2017).

Research shows Canadian schools focus on equity. Teachers and school administrators work together to make their international students feel welcome in the classroom. International students take approximately three years to catch up to their Canadian counterparts in test scores such as the Pisa test. Professor David Booth, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, says there is a solid foundation for literacy among Canadian children. Efforts have been made to improve resources available to children. School libraries are well stocked, and staff are specially trained to provide a quality literacy education to students (Couhglan, 2017).

Some classes included in state curriculums are considered controversial. In Alberta, a teacher at Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus in Blackfalds, showed her fourth-grade students two videos about the oil sands in the province. The students were then asked to complete written assignments about the oil sands in Alberta (Keller, 2019).

This is a contentious issue in a province where many families earn their income by working for mining companies. Many conservatives in Canada have raised concerns about political viewpoints making their way into classrooms across the province. This subject may have caused turmoil; however, it is a testament to Canada’s willingness to grow and progress in its education sector. Teachers are designing content that will capture their students’ attention with thought-provoking questions (Keller, 2019).

The flag of Canada is a backdrop of the illustration that contains several education-related objects.
The flag of Canada is a backdrop of the illustration that contains several education-related objects. Illustration by Amruta Awate.

Universities in Canada are also thriving. It is a popular destination for international students because of its prestigious universities nationwide. Canadian universities are respected for their work in chemistry, science, and medicine.

McGill University is a highly respected university in Montreal. It is widely considered to be among Canada’s best universities. It possesses a formidable medical school program that will greatly challenge the most capable students. McGill University is famous for its sprawling campus and extraordinary architecture. McGill University offers more than 300 undergraduate programs. There are over 400 programs to choose from in 80 different faculties for Masters, Ph.D., and postdoctoral research (McGill, 2020).

The University of Toronto is another prestigious university in Ontario. It possesses a rigorous admissions process. Students who are enrolled in this institution are consistently challenged by difficult classes and testing processes. This institution is the home of Dr. Jordan Peterson—a controversial figure in the world of psychology who is famous worldwide (Lynskey, 2018).

Audiences seem to have absolute opinions of Dr. Peterson and his work. Some think he is a keeper of the patriarchy and others think he is a guardian of free speech. Whatever your opinion may be on this professor, the standard of Canadian education upholds his right to debate and share ideas. This is an example of how open-minded Canadians are.

Even if students disagree with what Dr. Peterson has to say in class, they will openly debate his research and teaching methods without trying to get rid of him altogether. Debate is a healthy part of any society and Canadian universities have a high regard for their professors and students who seek knowledge and truth despite their disagreements and misgivings.

During Covid-19, universities used millions of dollars in emergency grants to help international students who were struggling to stay in Canada. These were unprecedented times for the world. Canada’s universities used care and consideration in their strategy to help international students. It is evident that international students will remember this experience for many years to come. This will be a testimony to future undecided international students that Canada is a fantastic place to live and study.


Originally published in the Zealousness e-magazine (issue 16) in 2020. Reviewed in 2023.  

Read more education-related articles on our Zealousness blog Education – iN Education Inc. (



  1. Coughlan, S. (2017). How Canada became an education powerhouse. Available at:
  2. Friesen, J. (2020). Universities, donors amass millions in grants for students struggling with financial implications of COVID-19. Available at:
  3. Keller, J. (2019). Alberta school lesson on oil sands prompts threats from parents amid sensitivity over industry’s image. Available at:
  4. Lynskey, D. (2018). How Dangerous is Jordan B. Peterson, the rightwing professor who hit a ‘hornets’ nest’? Available at:
  5. McGill University. (2020). Programs and admissions. Available at:
  6. Ontario Government. (2018). What will my child learn and do? Available at:
  7. Scholaro.(2018). Education system in Canada. Available at:
  8. Shoumatoff, A. (2015). This Rare, White Bear May Be the Key to Saving a Canadian Rainforest. Available at:



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