Free «The Role of Family and Education in Canada» Essay Sample

The Role of Family and Education in Canada


Since the time immemorial, family has been an integral part of the Canadian society. However, the role and the form of family have been greatly transformed during the last centuries. For example, in the second half of the 19th century, a nuclear family was the most common type of the household in the Canadian society. Traditional roles of family members were distributed in such way: a husband was a breadwinner while his wife was a typical housewife. Thus, nuclear families of that time were predominantly single-income. In 1981, the statistics encompassed 83% of married couples with their biological children. Unfortunately, the prestige of marriages since that time has considerably decreased. In 2006, less than 69% of families could be called nuclear or traditional. At the same time, roles of family members have also changed. Modern Canadian women do not find it reasonable to sit at home and fulfill roles of a careful wife and mother. Most often, they tend to have a job and earn money as well as men. So, today dual-income families are more widespread in the country that their predecessors – single-earning households (“Unit one: Families,” n.d., p. 10). The family size has also undergone some profound changes. In 1921, an average family contained 5 persons, while in 2006 this number dropped to 3 persons in a family (“Canadians in context – Households and families,” 2014).

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The situation has caused a wide spread of new types of family relations. Extended, single parent, childless, cooperative, and step families are getting more and more popular in Canada nowadays. Even a homosexual family has become not a rare phenomenon in modern Canada since 2005 when same-sex marriages were legalized in the country. The household, which is defined as an extended family, usually has several generations and/or the closest relatives under one roof. Among advantages of such family is that total earnings of its members are higher as compared to traditional families. Besides, the household has more working hands to do different tasks.

The Canadian government is the only institution with the right of governing the acts of marriage and divorce in the country. This power of the government is embedded in section 91(26) of the Constitution Act. The couple can choose whether marriage will be civil or religious and, in case of a religious marriage, the person who will conduct the wedding ceremony is also chosen by future spouses.

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A developed, extensive, and flexible character of the Canadian educational systems makes it evident that the population, as well as the authority of the country places a great value on studying. However, because of the division of Canada into provinces and territories, education standards in the country may differ from province to province. Differences may concern curriculum, grading, and other issues.

In general, citizens of Canada start their education from a kindergarten. Primary education, which is compulsory in Canada, starts from the age of 5 or 6 and continues till the age of 16. After finishing their elementary education, students can continue their studies in secondary schools. These educational establishments offer a great variety of academic and vocational programs. Depending on the choice of the secondary program, a student may continue studying in a higher educational establishment that is either in college or in the university. Canadian higher educational establishments can be private and public. The Canadian system of higher education is made up of three levels. Undergraduate level means three years of education and the awarding of the bachelor's degree at the end of the study. Postgraduate level continues for one or two years with the Master’s degree being assigned to students. To receive a PhD degree, a person must study for another four years in the university.

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Despite the high level of education in Canada, the literacy rate among the population can hardly be identified as high. According to the latest statistics, only 58% of adult Canadian citizens display high literacy skills. It goes without saying that illiteracy has a negative impact on employment. The same statistics shows that less than 20% are employed among those illiterate people. Thus, the problem of unemployment is currently affecting the Canadian society (Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, n.d.).