2.C Settlement and Integration
C.6 How is education treated?
(xi) What preparatory programs support successful integration outcomes for children and adults with education gaps and language barriers?
How Canada Does It
The main preparatory program that supports successful education outcomes for adults is language training (see 2.C.8). Adults can also earn their high school diploma, enabling them to access post-secondary education.
For children, some provinces have developed specialized programs to assist refugees and other newcomers to Canada. Several initiatives have emerged in various school boards and provinces to provide specialized language classes to enable refugees to smoothly transition to regular classes. Other initiatives include the development of specialized curricula and grants to help students who have experienced gaps in schooling catch up to their age group.
As permanent residents, refugees may access language training at no cost through the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada. Local settlement service providers refer refugees to language assessments centres where refugees will be assessed for language proficiency and referred to classes in their community (See 2.C.8). Adult refugees lacking secondary school credentials may prepare for the General Educational Development (GED) test to obtain a high school diploma and become eligible for post-secondary education. They may also attend adult high school programs.
Examples of local and provincial initiatives to support education outcomes for refugee students include:
- An initiative that places refugee students in a specialized program for half the day with the remainder of the day spent in mainstream courses;
- Offering specialized, intensive programs such as the Literacy Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP) implemented by the Toronto District School Board, or the Literacy, English and Academic Development (LEAD) program implemented by the Calgary Board of Education, that focus on language, academic foundations, and orientation.
- One program – the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters – assists parents in preparing their younger children for kindergarten and the beginning of their school life, as well as providing opportunities to parents to gain Canadian employment skills.
Some jurisdictions have also developed individual education plans that outline a special education program and/or services required by a particular student. These programs are offered to all students with special needs, including refugees. In almost 3,000 locations across Canada, settlement workers are placed in schools through the Settlement Workers in Schools program (see 2.C.6(viii)) to support refugee students, their parents, and school staff. Many schools have also hired interpreters to support refugee students.