Canada and Germany are two different, yet very similar countries depending on whether one reviews the political, socioeconomic, educational, or other aspects of society. This paper examines and provides a review of key journal articles that provide detailed information regarding the population, education, politics, and even education of Canada and Germany. While the two countries are vastly different in terms of population, they share many similarities including deficits in the employment rate and economy, which have led to higher rates of poverty among many of the countries inhabitants. Both countries struggle to provide migrants and immigrants with the tools they need to succeed. Germany has put into place policies and taxes supported by the government which has had the effect of reducing long-term poverty among certain members of the community, when compared to Canada. From a socioeconomic vantage,
Canada much more resembles the United States in terms of how long minorities and other disadvantages members of the population remain in poverty. The educational system of Germany is slightly more robust, focusing on engagement through innovative and creative learning techniques.
Keywords: Canada, Germany, population, economy
This paper provides an overview of population, economy, health, and education in Canada and in Germany. Both countries share many similarities with regard to social policy, although they are both widely separated from a geographical perspective. Two primary articles are used for a comparative analysis, followed by support from secondary resources.
Sliwka & Yee (2015) explore education approaches in Canada and Germany. The authors note that in both countries, “bottom-up and top-down processes have created the conditions for a changing perception of schooling” (p. 175). These approaches have enhanced student engagement, and have promoted social-emotional attitudes toward growth and learning in the classroom (Sliwka & Yee, 2015). There have been many public discussions of educational policy changes that will encourage more inclusive education incorporating learning in creative settings and learning capable of integrating cognitive, metacognitive, and social-emotional needs of children while they develop (Sliwka & Yee, 2015). The researchers in this article explain that their conception of engagement from an educational perspective is derived from the definition provided by the Canadian Education Association, which developed a theory of student engagement after surveying more than 60,000 Canadian adolescents in a study over several years (Silwka & Yee, 2015). Their study suggested that social engagement is different from academic engagement, where academic engagement is best defined as participation in “formal requirements” established by school administrators, while social engagement incorporated “a sense of belonging and participation” whether this was in school life or in extracurricular activities (Silwka & Yee, 2015, p. 158). From this theory the researchers derive that effective assessment must focus on improved learning, and interdependent relationships among classrooms and administrators (Silwka & Yee, 2015). In both Germany and Canada, large-scale projects have been undertaken by students, often in middle school, that incorporate student learning with real-life experience, allowing students to engage in problem-solving projects that will allow for significant improvements within their community or related to the population/economy (Silwka & Yee, 2015). Such projects are unique in that they take students out of the traditional educational environment seen in other countries, including within the US. From a political and economy perspective, large-scale policy reforms are taking place in both countries, encouraging greater innovation that can be designed by teachers while teachers collaborate with professionals in traditional corporate or related environments to enhance learning, all while considering learning as something that is interdependent and continuous throughout an individual’s lifetime (Silwka & Yee, 2015).
Valletta (2006) explores the broader concepts of population and economics among countries including Canada and Germany, focusing on a comparative analysis of poverty and the differences in policy reponses to socio-economic hardship in these countries, and others including the US. The author explores the economy of Canada, Germany, as well as Great Britain and the US for six-year periods focusing on how government policies can impact socio-economic status. Through a cross-sectional analysis of poverty, the researchers conclude that employment instability and family dissolution are more often related to poverty or socio-economic hardship in Canada and Germany alike. Valletta (2006) also concludes that government tax-and-transfer policies may be more effective than traditional policies including welfare assistance, in helping to alleviate the persistence of poverty that exist in regions including Germany and Canada (p. 261). Valletta (2006), like Sliwka & Yee (2015), engage in a descriptive analysis of their subject matter, with the latter focusing on education and related policies, and the former focusing on poverty rates and population dynamics contributing to it. Neither researcher provides much background information that helps the reader understand the overall standards of living or population dynamics in either Canada or Germany. Valletta (2006) notes that within Germany there is a lower rate of poverty persistence than in the United States and Canada, attributed largely to the greater role of government tax and transfer policies aimed at assisting members of the public in Germany and similar European countries. Taxes and transfers, according to Valletta (2006), however, can widen the gap that exists between European vs. North American countries including Canada, with much less time spent in what the author refers to as “disposable-income poverty” in Germany when compared with Canada (p. 272). The author attributes the similarity of Canada to the United States in term of wealth disparities due largely to the impact or lack of impact that government taxes and transfers have had on poverty in these countries (Valletta, 2006).
According to general indices that are available, the cost of many goods and services in Canada and Germany are the same; this is not true, however, of certain sustainable products including milk, bread, cheese, and fresh fruit, which are much costlier in Canada when compared to Germany; in fact, research suggests that bread and white rice as much as 60 percent higher in Canada than in Germany (Numbeo, 2017). School is also less costly in Germany, although the cost of an apartment in both countries is relatively similar (Numbeo, 2017). It’s important to note that Germany contains approximately 82 million people living within its borders (Campbell, 2013). Canada, however, contains approximately 36 million individuals, which is just under half the population within Germany (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.).
Higginbottom et al., (2013) note that large-scale immigration results in ethno cultural diversity and is common in many developed countries, including within Canada and Germany. Patterns of health across populations are hard to define, although a comparison of immigrant, minority, and majority groups in each country suggest that health disadvantages are apparent in some migrant and minority populations in both Canada and Germany, and may continue to become obvious as more immigrants flee to developed countries for safety or an improved quality of life (Higginbottom et al., 2013). Among those most often affected by poor policies and outcomes particularly in health and education include migrant minority women; research by Higginbottom et al., (2013) suggests that socioeconomic marginalization and vulnerability of women can complicate health matters particularly during vulnerable times including pregnancy and childbirth. All three primary researchers (Higginbottom et al., 2013; Sliwka & Yee, 2015; & Valletta, 2006) note that multiple factors shape health and educational experiences and outcomes of populations in Canada and Germany, among these include socioeconomic, political and cultural processes. Greater attention toward legislative and institutional policies, particularly those that place vulnerable populations at risk, need to be addressed in both countries. While Germany’s population is much larger than Canada’s, both countries face challenges related to poverty, and related toward providing adequate educational opportunities for youth (including migrant youth) in each country.
The articles reviewed failed to provide empirical evidence that any method apart from interdependence and collaboration may help to alleviate any of the disparities currently witnessed by Germans or Canadians. At this time, the best one might conclude is that while the countries differ significantly in size, both countries face similar challenges related to providing for the general and socioeconomic welfare of its citizens. Germany appears to have adopted a more developed educational system that considers children’s developmental stages as a means of enhancing educational and learning opportunities (Sliwka & Yee, 2015). Over time, this emphasis and changes in policy that continue to support educational engagement may result in greater opportunities as youths in this country grow into competent and engaged adults with innovative ideas and methods of working within global society.
- Campbell, S. (2013). Unlikely diplomats: The Canadian brigade in Germany. University of British Columbia Press.
- Central Intelligence Agency, (n.d.). The world fact book. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ca.html
- Salway, S. (2013). Migration and Maternity: Insights of Context, Health Policy, and Research Evidence on Experiences and Outcomes from a Three Country Preliminary Study Across Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Health Care for Women International, 34(11), 936-965. doi:10.1080/07399332.2013.769999
- Numbeo. (2017). Cost of living comparison between Germany and Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Germany&country2=Canada
- Sliwka, A., & Yee, B. (2015). From Alternative Education to The Mainstream: approaches in Canada and Germany to Preparing Learners to Live in a Changing World. European Journal of Education, 50(2), 175-183. doi:10.1111/ejed.12122
- Valletta, R. G. (2006). The ins and outs of poverty in advanced economies: government policy and poverty dynamics in Canada, Germany, Great Britain, and The United States.
Review of Income & Wealth, 52(2), 261-284. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4991.2006.00187.x