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Immigrants fuel Canada’s high education rates

Immigrants fuel Canada’s status as one of the best-educated countries in the world, according to a government report obtained by The Star.

Canada was ranked the second highest educated nation in the world by OECD. Photo: jameswheeler/Pixabay

Second generation immigrants have higher tertiary education attainment rates than their native-born peers also in the EU

The percentage of degree holders among 25 to 35 year olds is 36% for second generation migrants, compared to 24% for peers with Canadian-born parents.

“Immigrant families, particularly Asian families, tend to have higher educational expectations for their children”

According to the Immigration Department analysis, this may be down to the fact that many migrants already enter Canada holding university degrees and have high expectations for their children’s academic achievements. In turn this leads to the pursuit of degrees by the next generation.

“Parents’ expectations regarding education matters, and immigrant families, particularly Asian families, tend to have higher educational expectations for their children, on average, than families with Canadian-born parents,” said the report.

Not all source countries fare the same: more than half of second-generation immigrants from China and India hold degrees, compared to about 30 to 37% of those from Western Europe.

Canada was just behind Korea in 2016 as the most educated country in the world according to OECD. Over 60% of its citizens aged 25-34 year old and 42% of 55-64 year olds have university degrees – well above the OECD average.

Around the world, second generation immigrants to the European Union have higher tertiary education attainment rates than their non-immigrant peers, a 2016 Eurostat report showed.

Across the EU, 36% of first generation and 38% of second generation immigrants had post-secondary degrees in 2014, compared to 31% of native-born peers with native background.

However, there were differences between members states.

In the UK, the fifth best-educated country according to OECD, about half of first generation and 47% of second generation migrants had university degrees, compared to 37% of native-born citizens.

In Belgium the percentages were reversed, with native-born citizens 10 percentage points ahead of migrants.

Some member states also showed marked differences between the educational attainment of first and second-generation migrants.

In Spain, Portugal and Italy for example, second generation migrants fared better than their parents, whereas the opposite was true for Luxembourg, Poland and Czech Republic.

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