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Canada: Yukon

Overview

Located in North America, Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. It is the world's second largest country in geographic size, yet its population is over 32,805,000 - slightly less than that of California. In terms of its natural resources, Canada is the world's second richest country on a per-capita basis, behind Australia.

Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country, and over 75 percent live in metropolitan areas. Among the largest cities are: Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull, Québec; and Edmonton, Alberta.

Canada's indigenous population is referred to as the Indians or First Nations. In fact, Canada is an Iroquis word for "community." French and English are the country's official languages, reflecting the Canada's early colonial history. Since the second half of the 18th century when the British ousted France from Canada, the country's main political and ethnic ties have been with the United Kingdom. Increased immigration from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries boosted Canada's ethnic diversity, and since the 1970s, most immigrants have come from Asia.

Canada gained full independence in 1931, although it still is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Canada's official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, although its citizens directly elect legislatures at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.

Manufacturing and resource-related industries are the foundation of Canada's economy. Transportation equipment is the leading manufacturing industry. However, most Canadians work in service occupations.

Education

Canada's educational system, along with the language of instruction - English or French - varies according to each province. There is no centralized education ministry. Instead, provincial governments administer education, although church-run schools exist throughout the provinces.

Primary and Secondary Education

The Department of Education of the Yukon has the responsibility for primary, secondary and post-secondary education in the Yukon Territory, with the primary and secondary curriculum following that of British Columbia. Compulsory education lasts from ages 6 through 16. Primary school includes grades 1-7 (ages 6-13) and secondary school includes grades 8-12 (ages 13-18). High school graduation is normally required for admission to university-level programs at Yukon College.

Post-Secondary Education

Post-secondary education in the Yukon is offered through two institutions: Yukon College and the Yukon Native Language Centre.

  • Yukon College traces its history to the Yukon Vocational and Technical Training Centre, which was established in 1963. In 1983, the center changed its name to Yukon College. Located on the Yukon College campus are the Yukon Arts Centre, the Northern Research Institute and the Yukon Native Language Centre. In 1990, it became a community college with its own governing board. Yukon College programs are divided into three areas: academic programs, developmental programs and professional programs.

    The academic programs provide first- and second-year university-level courses to students who will eventually transfer to a degree program at a university in another province or who will earn a Yukon College certificate or diploma. The Arts and Sciences Division awards an Associate of Arts or Associate of General Studies degree of two years duration. There are also certificate programs that are usually one-year programs and diploma programs typically two years in length. Formal transfer agreements exist with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the Open University of British Columbia, the University of Regina and several institutions in Alaska.

    Academic programs are offered in the following subject areas: arts, criminal justice, science, Northern studies, renewable resources management, and women's studies.

    Developmental programs are offered in basic literacy skills for preparation for high school completion or for college entrance. Students in this program may obtain the equivalent of a college-preparatory high school diploma. (Yukon College has an open admissions policy for developmental programs.)

    Professional studies are offered as credit programs in business, management, health, human services, and trades and technology. Many certificates and diplomas offered provide for credit transfer to universities in other territories.

    In conjunction with the University of Regina, Yukon College offers a four-year Bachelor's degree program in teacher training for students of Aboriginal descent. A Bachelor of Social Work degree program is also offered by Yukon College accredited by the University of Regina.

    In conjunction with the University of Alaska, Yukon College offers programs leading to Master's degrees in public administration, education, and business administration. Students can also complete the first part of a Bachelor's degree program in Business Administration through Yukon College and complete the degree through distance education through the University of Alaska.

  • The Yukon Native Language Centre, which is administered by the Council for Yukon First Nations, offers a three-year certificate program for Native language instructors. The YNLC has been operating since 1977.


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