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Chinese immigrants double enrolment average

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A staggering 98.3 per cent of Chinese-Canadian immigrants pursue higher education by the time they hit age 21 -- a figure more than double the national average -- according to a new study.

Chinese immigrants are the largest ethnic minority within Calgary, yet the percentage is greater within the University of Calgary community.

Nancy Li, Calgary Chinese Students' and Scholars' Association vice-president, doesn't find the results of the study surprising.

"Parents that immigrate here bring their children in hopes that they will have a better education here," she said. "Therefore, most young immigrants pursue post-secondary education."

Research and Partnerships associate dean Daniel Lai cited additional reasons for this astounding number.

"Not only are there many more opportunities for post-secondary studies in Canada than compared to China, there are certain expectations from immigrant parents that their children will pursue an opportunity for higher education that they might not have had," said Lai.

Both Li and Lai agreed the pursuit of higher education is ingrained in Chinese culture.

There is, however, an enormous gap between the amount of students attending higher education institutions in China and in Canada.

Officials in China hope to have 20 per cent of the graduating population in a post-secondary education program by 2010. Lai attributes the vast disparity to the different levels of competition in the two countries.

"In China, there is no second chance. It is extremely competitive there and if you do not take education as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it is gone and you will never get it back," said Lai.

"In Canada, however, there is a second chance. Chinese immigrants, and probably the majority of immigrants, are unaware of this second opportunity."

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