SSB

SA Schools vs Canadian Schools

Recommended Posts

SSB

Hi,

I've been reading some blogs, and at one point it was mentioned that Canadian public schools are ok, but not as good as the Private schools (Canadian & SA), but that especially Canadian Private schools are SERIOUSLY expensive! These comments were written in 2004.

It was mentioned that discipline in Canadian public schools weren't that great.

So I was wondering 10 years down the line - what are the feeling/personal experience from parents now? Especially those who have maybe experienced both SA & Canada school system. Does the Canadian public school system prepare the children for Tertiary Education, or is there a growing gap (that it seems to be happening in SA)?

Thank you :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

In SA one needs to avoid the public schools and the private route is the norm if you can afford it. In Canada almost all public schools are well run and good enough for the bulk of the population. Sure a private school in Canada is better than public but the costs are high and not necessary.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tracey22

My kids are in a public school. 4 children moved into the public school from various private schools because the children had learning disabilities, and the private school could not provide the children with the support they needed.

I think it is a fantastic testament to the quality of the public school system.

My son is ADHD with a learning disability. He gets phenomenal suport from the school, and when I think about what he gets here in the public school system, compared to what he got in Grade 1 and 2 in private school in SA, I am so thankful we are here and not in SA.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SSB

Wow, thank you Tracey & Jules

Edited by Sonja.Brink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AnelleR2008

Before I start writing this I should mention that my children are not in school. We homeschool and always have. However, I'm interested in all things education and my eldest is entering the school system next year for his final 1.5 years (1 semester co-op and then grade 12).

I think the fact that Canada always scores high on the the international stats for Math, Science and English gives a good indication of the quality of schooling. I love the variety of subjects offered in high school. I also love that volunteering is encouraged and that schools often are involved in community outreaches. In Ontario 40 volunteer hours are needed to get your high school diploma.

I think a lot of private schools offer alternative education (Montessori, Waldorf, Christian, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelline

My son is only in Kindergarten but I love the Catholic school he goes to and the caring atmosphere. The Headmistress knows each child by name. I love how much he is learning but all strictly through play, exploration and all hands-on activities. I am a SA qualified Teacher btw and taught at both primary and secondary levels in SA and I did quite a bit of volunteering at my son's school before I started my "real" job :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MaryJane

Both my kids are in public schools here in Canada. In SA, they were in semi-private. I must say that the level and quality of education they provide here makes the kids better prepared for the future.

My eldest, who arrived here in Canada after finishing Grade 10 in SA, integrated well into Grade 11. She is now finishing Grade 12 and her good marks has helped her be accepted to all the universities she applied to.

I also love that the kids here have a choice of subjects that are geared more for university studies, or college studies, or others, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Laurenwallace

The public school that my child goes to is as comparable to the private schools in SA. She attended a public school in SA (much to my dismay, as the private school was full) and let me tell you - leaps and bounds better!!! Granted, I found that she was behind in her reading and writing skills by a couple of levels, but the teacher knew this and they provided her with all the tools needed to get her up to standard. It took us about 2 months for her to catch up (she was in Gr 1 in SA and is now finishing off Gr 2 here) The class numbers are lower, the teachers are qualified, the schooling system is forward thinking and modern, the facilities are fantastic... the things that she is learning in Gr 2 in the public school system here, would only have been taught to her in Gr 4 in SA (history, social studies, science) You cannot go wrong with the schooling in Canada - Private or Public.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KarinN

My daughter has been going to school in Canada for 6 years now - only two months of that was in private school. My experience of private schooling was a huge disappointment and I will never send her to a private school again and I will advocate for public schools even after the teacher strike we just had to endure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Druce

I have read through the thread and have found it informative, thank you guys!

I have heard from other SA's living in Winnipeg that Private schooling is the way to go, what do you guys think? It seems quite expensive and we were not expecting to enroll our 8 year old daughter in a private school once we land. We will definitely consider this if public schooling is not a great option but what I have read on here makes me more comfortable with the public school idea.

The house we will be staying in is on the East side of Winnipeg and the schooling district is the Louis Riel School Division. Not knowing what public/private/catholic schooling is like in Manitoba, or Canada we would appreciate ANY advice and opinions.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelline

I don't agree with those people from Winnipeg. PM if you'd like to discuss

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules

Not sure what the deal is with Winnipeg but speaking from a Canada-wide perspective nobody has the attitude that "private schooling" is the way to go. I cannot emphasise enough how different it is compared to SA. 

I work in the head office of a big bank and most  the bank executives send their kids to public schools! It's rare to hear of someone sending kids to a private school. Why? Because it's not necessary. 

The only issue you could face is the zoning system: kids go to the school their home address is zoned in. If there happens to be a low cost housing development within that zone then that school could be a little less than perfect. But even then it's going to be streaks ahead of a SAn public school. Just double check zoning before you buy or rent a home. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hennie vdB

I agree with Jules and Nelline. Our son did Grade 11 and 12 here in a public school in Calgary, and discipline and quality of tuition was good. The school did send out regular memos requesting the girls to dress a little "more appropriately", but I never heard him complain.

Private schools are so expensive in any case, it is a total non-issue for most of us who are salaried employees. Public schools are free!

But Jules is correct with the zoning, very important, you choose the school first, and then search for houses in that zone. Our son had to attend the allocated "zone" school 10km away, even though we have a school 4km from our house.

There are unofficial school rankings here:

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/school-performance

BUT, note there is also criticism against the rankings, so take them with a pinch of salt. What is interesting in the rankings is that quite a few public schools rank higher than the private schools!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Druce

Thank you @Nelline I have sent you the pm.

@Jules , thank you for the sound advice!

LOL @Hennie Calgary, sure he did not mind!

Once again, thank you guys for taking the effort to reply and give your advice in this regard, it is highly appreciated!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QRM

Public schools are excellent, however if you like burning money go private.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obelix

My daughter is in Gr 11 in a public school in Vancouver.  She is a straight A student and has always enjoyed her schooling.  We had her in an excellent model C school for Primary in SA, and went private schooling for her high school, simply because the high school was too crowded.

The standard of education is definitely lower in Canada than in SA in our experience.  She has 100% on her report card for Maths and English this term without much effort, while in SA had to work a bit to get her A.  Her other subjects are not far off the 100% mark.

The school system is mediocre at best, but life goes on here and there's no real panic about it.  She'll still get into Varsity and go on to work in a career of her choosing.

South African subject are limited, while subjects here range from sciences to theatre management, psychology or writing even.  

A note about Canadian kids - they are not as respectful as we are used to in SA.  They do what they want and there is a HUGE problem with drug addiction that you will have to watch out for.  Yesterday the emergency services in BC reported 150 overdose victims - for one day!  All my daughters friends at school smoke dagga, some given to them by their parents!

It's a different culture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelline
2 hours ago, Obelix said:

My daughter is in Gr 11 in a public school in Vancouver.  She is a straight A student and has always enjoyed her schooling.  We had her in an excellent model C school for Primary in SA, and went private schooling for her high school, simply because the high school was too crowded.

The standard of education is definitely lower in Canada than in SA in our experience.  She has 100% on her report card for Maths and English this term without much effort, while in SA had to work a bit to get her A.  Her other subjects are not far off the 100% mark.

The school system is mediocre at best, but life goes on here and there's no real panic about it.  She'll still get into Varsity and go on to work in a career of her choosing.

South African subject are limited, while subjects here range from sciences to theatre management, psychology or writing even.  

A note about Canadian kids - they are not as respectful as we are used to in SA.  They do what they want and there is a HUGE problem with drug addiction that you will have to watch out for.  Yesterday the emergency services in BC reported 150 overdose victims - for one day!  All my daughters friends at school smoke dagga, some given to them by their parents!

It's a different culture.

You cannot compare SA private schooling to Canadian Public schooling. It is not a fair comparison. The SA private system places a lot of emphasis on academics, the Canadian Public system, places a lot of emphasis on developing a well-rounded human being - you'll see this especially if your child had been through the system from Elementary school.

I've not seen the disrespectful attitude (or drug problem!) pointed out by many people hailing from South Africa - and we lived in a big city (Ottawa) and now on PEI. I suspect this has to do with children, for example, calling people by their first names instead of "Oom en Tannie." or "Mr and Mrs" All the teenagers we meet are well-rounded, respectful, maybe a little outspoken - but then so is my 8 year old. On the other hand he calls myself and my husband by our first names. Is that a problem? Maybe if you're fixated on the SA schooling system and SA social framework of reference. In Canada, they're taught to think for themselves, and express themselves, from an early age. I'm so thankful my child is not exposed to the paternalistic SA schooling system my husband and I knew, where every space is a square and round pegs will be MADE to fit into that square, come hell or high water!

Having said all of that, we will probably allow our child to do Independent Studies from the time he leaves Elementary School (in other words, we'll Homeschool) for the simple reason that he is now already streets ahead most of his peers in most areas. I am happy to leave him be, for the moment, as he is learning important socialization lessons, and we need him to develop in that area.

I am a trained teacher and I've taught for 8 years in SA and 2 years in the UK. I do have a basis for comparison

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nettie

Kids are encouraged to "use their words."  I don't think being verbal (knowing how to express yourself and not being afraid to do so), should be confused with disrespect. 

 

Edited by Nettie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nelline
8 minutes ago, Nettie said:

Kids are encouraged to "use their words."  I don't think being verbal (knowing how to express yourself and not being afraid to do so), should be confused with disrespect. 

 

Exactly. This is something which was frowned upon in SA (unless said child was on the debate team and actually partaking in an organized debate!)
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jules
On Fri Apr 28 2017 at 4:33 PM, Obelix said:

My daughter is in Gr 11 in a public school in Vancouver.  She is a straight A student and has always enjoyed her schooling.  We had her in an excellent model C school for Primary in SA, and went private schooling for her high school, simply because the high school was too crowded.

The standard of education is definitely lower in Canada than in SA in our experience.  She has 100% on her report card for Maths and English this term without much effort, while in SA had to work a bit to get her A.  Her other subjects are not far off the 100% mark.

The school system is mediocre at best, but life goes on here and there's no real panic about it.  She'll still get into Varsity and go on to work in a career of her choosing.

South African subject are limited, while subjects here range from sciences to theatre management, psychology or writing even.  

A note about Canadian kids - they are not as respectful as we are used to in SA.  They do what they want and there is a HUGE problem with drug addiction that you will have to watch out for.  Yesterday the emergency services in BC reported 150 overdose victims - for one day!  All my daughters friends at school smoke dagga, some given to them by their parents!

It's a different culture.

Two things to keep in mind.

One is to compare apples to apples so you need to compare SA government schools to Canadian government schools and SA private to Canadian private. 

Two, remember that there's a zoning system for Canadian public schools. Not all schools are equal just like not all neighbourhoods are equal. There are some ridiculously good public schools in Canada especially the ones in very affluent neighbourhoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OutOfSa

Obelix....what happened to  Asterix???

I have five years of Canadian experience to offer as wisdom + 2 teens.

As noted above, schools seem to differ across the board.  I too thought that the level of education was lacking here.  It just seemed too easy.  Hmmm, none so blind as those that don't take the time to look and see.  

My eldest daughter is in first year university, she started in GR9 when we arrived. Her marks also appeared abnormally high to me, and they are still high in university.  She works really hard, so that might be a reason why.  Anyway, I used to help her out with her work.  I noticed an incredible change in her writing skills from Gr9 - Gr12.  I'd say poor to astonishing.  I have a masters in chemistry and an electronic engineering diploma, so I'd like to think I'm not dumb.  However, by GR12 her physics and chemistry were on a par with anything I had done in SA private school, her maths in advanced functions and calculus was above my matric and beyond my residual university memory - much to her mirth.  There was nothing easy about it.  Her command of English has increased 10-fold.  She'd done courses on photography, real world accounting, Careers, computers, cooking and life skills - more courses than I knew existed.  But each and every one was a great credit and useful in its own right.  She is a master of none, but she now knew many more things than I did in Matric.  How to take decent digital photo's, how to research on the web without being fooled, excel, word, online submissions, plagiarism. What phishing is, how to avoid it, online banking, purchasing.  How to cook, and what it's like to prepare food in bulk (for the school cafe) and also how to bake - great skills.  How to write a resume, how basic accounting works.  About computers, basics on their insides.... the list goes on.....

To me, this represented a well rounded education, despite my initial reservations.  Our kid's were also in model "C" schools in SA, and good ones.  Canada seemed behind, until the product emerged.  Don't judge a book by the cover.  My wife often comment in frustration about the banking system - it's behind and they still accept altered cheques and sometimes unsigned ones. SA was once like that.  I tell her, it's a reflection of the level of crime, there is not as much pressure here to prevent crime.   Is that not a good thing?

I have this to say about the education system in Canada: Does it work?  Well, let's think about that for a minute....Canada is one of the most highly educated populations in the world - so by extrapolation, it must educate it's kids well, not all the educated people are imported.  Sport is lacking, but that's just the way it is.

Kid's here are way more outspoken and they don't say "hello Mr x" or "Mrs Y".  That's just the nature of how they grow up, I find this disconcerting but I accept it.  I grew up with the Cane close to my bum.  I used to think that this is the way it should be...  Now I am not so sure.  Perhaps the spotlight should be focused on the parents?  I was a robot in SA during apartheid, indoctrinated - "veld school" - wow, that was an indoctrination camp of note.  Smart move by the then government.  Films every night until midnight about unrest and violence & communists trying to take over the world - 13 years old I was.  After a day of survival techniques against the "enemy of the land" - with "boet Ferra" in charge and "Oom Botha" I got to watch movies about the threats to the 'father land.'  It's little wonder I questioned little as I grew up in a regimental system designed to keep the youth hypnotised.  I can still see the flickering images in my minds eye to this day.  Necklacing - isn't that a wonderful thing to show a kid in his formative years.  

You've only been here a little while, guide your kids help and nurture them, stay close - if you do a good job and you are "lucky" they will grow up to be happy successful individuals.  Drugs are everywhere - dagga was in out SA model "C" primary school  (2011) - yes, it was.  None so bind as those that wont see.  My wife was in the office, and they dealt with pot.  They did not tell the parents, but it was there.  What was going on in your SA school, do you really know?

It's very different here, you came to get away from violence that could damage your kids beyond help - try to think of that when you wish to be back in the SA bubble of privilege, or when you think you're not getting what you deserve.  When we moved here, one of the people we stayed with commented "I know you think you're hard done by.."  I was offended, but maybe it was an astute observation on his part?  It's not easy here, how it turns out is your choice.  How many people did you know of or hear about that survived one of the big three, rape, hijacking or  armed robbery? What were the chances your kids would deal with that?  And how would they come out the other end?   I was not willing to find out.  

Some days I sill feel "like a stranger in a strange land" - Robert A. Heinlein  & also in the bible I believe :lol: (Thanks Google!)

 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cathy K

I second all the other comments from seasoned immigrants to Canada. I find that most Canadian high schools are more like university campuses. South Africans are used to strict rules and regulations in schools. Here it's up to the students to do their best, but excellent guidance is always available. Each student has access to qualified councillors.

Our granddaughter attended a very expensive private school but switched to a public school in grade 8. The choices are phenomenal and the students are not limited to a certain amount of subjects. They are expected to do volunteer work for extra credits.

Obelix, again, only being here a few months, makes an informed assessment a bit more difficult.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Obelix

I know you guys are right, I'm just in a bit of a panic that she's not getting a "formal' education! :P I WILL get over it! :D I WILL!

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wolverine
On 4/28/2017 at 2:33 PM, Obelix said:

 

A note about Canadian kids - they are not as respectful as we are used to in SA.  They do what they want and there is a HUGE problem with drug addiction that you will have to watch out for.  Yesterday the emergency services in BC reported 150 overdose victims - for one day!  

It's a different culture.

Spot on !!!   Give this guy a Castle Lager !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LiezelJ
On 5/29/2014 at 4:37 PM, MaryJane said:

Both my kids are in public schools here in Canada. In SA, they were in semi-private. I must say that the level and quality of education they provide here makes the kids better prepared for the future.

My eldest, who arrived here in Canada after finishing Grade 10 in SA, integrated well into Grade 11. She is now finishing Grade 12 and her good marks has helped her be accepted to all the universities she applied to.

I also love that the kids here have a choice of subjects that are geared more for university studies, or college studies, or others, etc.

Hi,

which elementary and secondary schools do your children attend in Mississauga? I want to google them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now