Fortunately, Canada pretty much has merit-based admissions for university. Sure, they are flawed in many ways, but there is less reliance on family or other connections, ethnic background, etc. when admission decisions are made. As a result, there is a tendency for the brightest students to be the ones who attend university, especially the upper-tier universities.
It turns out that a "disproportionate" number of the university students are Asian. This fact, reported earlier by Maclean's magazine, means little-to-nothing to me. But I guess lots of people in Canada took Maclean's to task for pointing out this fact, arguing that Maclean's was being racist. I don't see it that way.
Neither does Tony Keller:
A 2005 Statistics Canada study found that 54% of visible minority Canadians aged 24 to 26 reported having attended university, versus just 38% of the non-visible minority population.
Two weeks ago, Maclean’s magazine published an article headlined, “Too Asian?” about the racial makeup of Canada’s university campuses. U of T was singled out as a campus that has become very Asian. The article was universally panned, the favored reaction being accusing Maclean’s of racism.
Ah, racism: once you pull out that card, the discussion is over. And that’s too bad because the Maclean’s article, for all its faults, actually contained some new information, on a topic that anyone who spends five minutes on a Canadian university campus notices: the rapidly changing racial makeup of the student body. Everybody notices but nobody notices, because if you do, you risk being called a racist. Maclean’s, to it’s credit, took notice.
Unfortunately, it drew exactly the wrong conclusions. It discovered a success story — a uniquely Canadian success story — and described it as a problem.
A large proportion of immigrants are motivated and smart and industrious enough that they attend university (more than w.a.s.p. Canadians). As Keller says, this sounds like a success story for the immigrants, not a problem. The only question is why fewer non-immigrants attend university.
Disclosure: one of my relatives is an immigrant from Asia.