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article imageWhere students are from makes a difference says Toronto study

By KJ Mullins     Oct 6, 2010 in World
Toronto - Where an immigrant is from in Canada makes a big difference when it comes to higher education according to a new study of Toronto high school immigrant students shows that first generation immigrants.
Students from East Asia are the most likely to attend university while their Caribbean classmates tend to bypass secondary education and in some cases even getting their high school diploma.
The study, Post-High School Pathways of Immigrant Youth was commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).
The Government of Ontario proposed in its 2010 budget to raise Ontario's postsecondary attainment rate to 70 percent.
"Nearly three quarters of new jobs will require some form of postsecondary education," says Harvey Weingarten, president and CEO of HEQCO in a press release. "The challenge for Ontario will be to meet this need. The best opportunity to do that is to increase the participation and attainment rates of under-represented students; unfortunately, not all under-represented groups are enrolling in postsecondary education at equal rates."
Tracking Grade 9 students from the Toronto District School Board from 2000 until 2006 the study was able to compare the profiles of students both by their region of origin and their generational status. For Toronto students this study has high stakes, only 20 percent of students in the city have born parents born in Canada while 42 percent are first generation immigrants and 38 percent are born in Canada of immigrant parents.
The study found that the least likely to attend postsecondary institution or even graduate from high school were Caribbean students. In fact 45 percent of those students dropped out of high school and only 12 percent were confirmed to have gained admission to a university. African students also were less likely to have attended university. There was some good news however, English-speaking Canadian, Caribbean and African-born students were most likely to go to college. And more than 70 per cent of East Asian students went on to university, followed by European students at 52 per cent.
Students from lower incomes appear to have larger hurdles for attending post secondary education with students living in single-parent homes being disadvantaged.
First generation immigrants are more likely to attend university than second generation immigrants.
This study was conducted by Robert Sweet, Lakehead University; Paul Anisef, York University; Rob Brown, Toronto District School Board; David Walters, University of Guelph; and Kelli Phythian, York District School Board.
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