The expert on immigration issues and a licensed lawyer Inna Kogan (B.A., LL.B.), who received her own education in Canada, shares her experience and her thoughts about the Canadian education system. When enrolled in a Canadian university, a student gets an opportunity not only to gain knowledge and learn the profession, but also an opportunity to immigrate to Canada after receiving the document about education. Canada appreciates young professionals and provides them with full support, including employment. And this is the way that a successful lawyer followed herself- a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, a lawyer, public notary, the author of many materials on immigration, as well as a teacher and the founder of the Canadian Education Centre CanSchool Inna Kogan.
Good afternoon, Inna. How did it happen that a successful lawyer has suddenly become the founder of the Canadian Education Centre in Kiev?
In fact, it is surprising, but at one point it all just came together. Due to the fact that I am a lawyer, I have to keep track of changes in the legislation. And about 2 years ago a number of regulations was adopted in Canada about the possibility for foreign children to receive secondary education, even without being in Canada, because the education is remote. With regard to training in CanSchool, the lessons and lectures are in English, so the student must pass a language test in order to be admitted. Classes are held three times a week for two academic hours per day. Licensed Canadian teachers conduct classes using the Internet mode and using the video lessons. Moreover, all students in Canadian schools pass compulsory Canadian Literacy Test exam. CanSchool’s students take this test simultaneously with their Canadian peers under the strict supervision of Canadian teachers on the territory of the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv.
What opportunities do Ukrainian students receive when having in possession a high school diploma in Canada?
The knowledge of the disciplines of the Canadian high school, together with improved knowledge of English during the training in CanSchool and Canadian diploma «High School» (OSSD) greatly facilitate the students’ admission to prestigious universities all around the world and save 1 to 2 years of preparation for the beginning of higher education abroad. It is very important that it is possible to get the access to Canadian institutions of higher education only on the basis of this diploma, without passing additional exams.
There is a belief that learning in Europe is too expensive. Is this also true for Canada? And if so, is it possible to consider studying in Canada as an investment in your own future?
In general, I believe that education is the best investment in the future. In our world of new technologies and intense competition on the labor market, only the right set of knowledge and skills will ensure success in the endeavors of a young specialist. The quality of education in Canada is not worse than in America or Great Britain. According to statistics, nearly one-fifth of students of Canadian universities are the students from the United States. In the world ranking, the University of Toronto keeps steadily its 14th place after such giants as Harvard and Oxford. And McGill University in Montreal in the French part of Canada lags behind them only for few points. As for pricing, it is a pleasant surprise. The cost of education in Canada is several times cheaper than in America or Great Britain. It is not only due to the fact that the Canadian dollar fell against the US dollar, but also because the government subsidizes higher education. The Canadian government is doing everything possible to maintain the level of education of the population at a high level.
In Canada one can get an education in one of the best universities in the world for the amount that can be earned in the first two years of working in Canada. I believe that such an investment is fully justified as a business-project!
In recent years, much has been said about immigration through training and education. How many migrants have taken advantage of this opportunity?
Immigration through education is one of the most popular ways of legal immigration to Canada. The program was created in order to stop the outflow of Canada’s talented and promising young professionals. In terms of immigration policy, the graduates of Canadian universities are ideal immigrants. It is guaranteed they will be integrated into society, will not ask for benefits and will pay taxes to Canada’s growing economy throughout life. Everything is simple: after receiving higher education in Canada, young people will automatically receive a work permit. And as you rightly pointed out, only one year of work experience in the conditions of full employment leads to almost guaranteed success in obtaining permanent resident status.
In the past I myself stayed in Canada using similar system that existed in those years. After graduating from the university, I worked for a year for a famous law firm, then left and continued my studies to get the next level. The fact is that foreign students pay approximately two times’ higher tuition fees than Canadians. Having graduated after two years of studies and received the status, for example, of an associate, the student has a right to continue their education, but it will cost only half the price.
What is the difference between Canadian education system and, for example, American one? And is it adapted to different regional or general state / federal program to fill the local labor market, as it happens, for example, in Nova Scotia?
I won’t undertake to comment on the US educational system, but Canadian system is really different from the British one: a set of students is usually calculated for a certain program based on the demand of the labor market for such professionals. I taught at the university, which is comparable with our Polytechnic Institute (Seneca College) and studied the system from within. Each profession has a special rating name KPI, which is determined by several factors. And the main one is the potential employment of graduates in the professional sphere. The higher is the rating of KPI, the more likely is that the student will find a job in this particular field. Universities are struggling for high ratings because the applicants choose the program of training and of higher education based on this information. Each university has a department that deals with assistance in finding employment for their graduates. Since every foreigner who graduated from high school, will automatically receive a work permit, the Department of employment helps them as well as the citizens of Canada. There are all necessary conditions for the young professionals to have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practice.
It is believed that it is much easier to enroll in private high school than in the state one. Is it so?
Probably yes. Those applicants who are able to be enrolled thanks to their knowledge to the high-rating institution, no doubt, will choose it. And only those who have not held a competition in the schools with a high rating, are considering other options. So it turns out that commercial universities accept students with lower scores and grades. I think it is an absolutely natural situation. It is the same in Ukraine, isn’t it?
In the students’ environment there is a haunting myth that students older than 25 years will not receive a visa. And, generally speaking, what are the limits for getting education abroad?
I love myths, but I especially like to dispel them! The majority of people who are coming to me for help, have been stuck in a non-standard situation, so they are afraid to be engaged in paperwork for immigration without skilled help. I am talking about successfully completed cases on my FB page, and an important place among these stories are about students who are older 30, whose who have had a multiple negative experience in getting visa for studying and other applicants who — contrary to the current perceptions among people — fly to Canada with official legal documents .
There is a strict rule in some universities in Poland — after graduation a student has to go home. What is the state of affairs in Canada with regard to this?
In Canada, there is no such a rule. Previously, foreigners were offered grants to study on condition that they would return to their homeland. Unfortunately, these grants do not exist anymore. But I have helped many clients to receive scholarships to study at universities in Canada. In order to do this, you need to know the system and not to miss the deadline. Not everyone gets such a scholarship, but it is necessary to try. Nobody is going to open the door if you do not knock on it.
Thank you very much for the interview.