The Covid-19 pandemic may have compelled educational institutions to use virtual learning or distance learning tools for stranded students. So, is this how studying in Canada look like in the coming years?
Should somebody planning on the study, work, settle route to Canadian permanent residence look at distance learning courses seriously? Not really. If a foreign degree is merely the first step and if you plan on working and eventually settling in Canada, then distance learning may not be the right choice.
Distance Learning ≠ Canadian Degree
Studying in Canada is a great way to kickstart your immigration process because virtually all Canadian provincial nomination programs have an international graduate stream.
These streams are restricted to those graduating from an educational institution located in the province and physical residence in the province is a mandatory requirement in all these programs/streams.
In fact, the rules expressly disqualify distance learning or accelerated learning programs from being considered as eligible courses/degrees for the purpose of provincial nomination.
Zero Internship Opportunities
Countries love courting foreign students and often link studying with immigration programs because study-cum-work opportunities like internships, coop, and graduate fellowships give such students a taste of living and working in the country.
This is true for Canada as well. In fact, Canada has a post-graduate work permit program aimed specifically at international graduates seeking work opportunities in the country.
As a distance learning student, you will have zero opportunities to network with Canadian employers. While you may gain a degree, you will have zero exposure to the Canadian way of living and working, which is a big negative if settling in the country is your ultimate goal.
So, while you may receive instructions from Canadian tutors and enjoy access to quality education, such a degree won’t help you qualify for benefits reserved for immigration applicants with a Canadian degree.
No Scope for Entrepreneurship
Working for a Canadian firm after you graduate may sound very attractive but international graduates can also explore entrepreneurship opportunities after completing their studies.
Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador have international graduate entrepreneurship streams in their PNPs.
Obviously, you cannot contemplate setting up a startup in Canada with just a distance learning degree obtained without leaving your native country.
No Intent to Reside and Settle in Canada
Intent to live and settle in Canada is an important requirement of all immigration programs—Federal and Provincial. Living in Canada and exploring internships, networking opportunities, and assimilating Canadian lifestyle and integrating into Canadian society can help highlight this intent.
A distance learning course, on the other hand, may work to your disadvantage and raise questions on your commitment to contribute to Canada’s economy and lifestyle.
Unsuitable for Practical Training
Despite advancements in technology, distance learning cannot be suitable for courses and degrees requiring extensive specialized practical training. So, legal restrictions apart, opting for distance learning over conventional study options may not be a smart choice for you future.
Even in the remote chance of Canadian institutions offering a large number of distance learning programs in the post-Covid-19 world, your focus should be restricted to conventional degrees and courses that will help you secure your future in Canada.