OCENET Teaching Tip Sheet #14

OCENET Tip Sheet #14: Backgrounder to National Education Systems

International students attend schools in Canada for a variety of reasons, with the most common being the opportunity to improve English language skills and to experience living in another culture. International students who attend OCDSB schools currently come from almost 50 different countries. Teachers may find the following background information helpful for understanding the educational systems their international students experience in their home country:

  • China:

    Full school year, non-semestered, September to June; winter holiday January
    Elementary Grades 1-6; junior middle Grades 7-9; high school Grades 10-12
    National Higher Education Entrance Examination (GAO KAO) for university entrance

  • Germany:

    Full school year, non-semestered, September to June
    Secondary school Grades 7 or 8 to Grades 12 or 13, depending on state
    Gymnasium high school for university preparation - university entrance examination Abitur
    Usually students will not be granted equivalent credits upon return to Germany

  • South Korea:

    Full school year, non-semestered, year March to February with holidays mid-July to late August and all of January
    Primary Grades 1-6; middle school Grades 7-9; high school Grades 10-12
    Public and private; vocational and academic

  • Mexico:

    Full school year, non-semestered
    Primary Grades 1-6; junior Grades 7-9; high school Grades 10-12 (not compulsory)
    Vocational or academic (prepatoria) high school

  • Colombia:

    Full school year, semestered: Semester 1- February to June. Semester 2- July to November (southern states have school year more akin to ours), with holidays according to southern hemisphere (December-January)
    Elementary Grades 1-5; high school basic Grades 6-9; mid secondary Grades 10-11
    State test of admission to university

  • Brazil:

    Full school year, non-semestered, February to December
    Fundamental Education l - Grades 1-5
    Fundamental Education ll - Grades 6-9 (equivalent to our junior high)
    High School - Grades 10-12 (called Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3)

For more information on education in these countries and others, visit WES-Canada (World Education Services) to access their database.

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