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Chinese students graduate from unique Green Path program

GRADUATION DAY: Students (from left) Lina Zhao from Shanghai, Toby Qin of Chongqing, and Tiger Jiang of Shenzhen, were among the 112 students to complete the unique Green Path program. (Photo by Kyle Macpherson.)

by Mary Ann Gratton

A special graduation ceremony took place on Friday for more than 100 students who have come to the University of Toronto Scarborough from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as part of a unique summer program that prepares them for university.

The students were part of the innovative Green Path program, believed to be the only one of its kind in North America for students from mainland China. The Green Path program is a U of T Scarborough initiative and partnership with Chinese high schools in six cities: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Tianjin.

They received their diplomas at a special graduation ceremony and lunch attended by various officials, including Madame Linyi Zhang and Mr. Xiaochuang Wu of the Education Consul of China, Professor Franco Vaccarino, Principal of U of T Scarborough, and Professor Tim McTiernan, Interim Vice-President, Research, at the University of Toronto. The events were held on the grounds of the scenic Miller Lash House, part of the U of T Scarborough campus.

The 112 high school graduates arrived in Canada in May to take part in the innovative program. Green Path -- which translates from Chinese as “the way to success” – enables students with top marks to participate in an academic and ESL program that prepares them for life as undergraduate students at the University of Toronto. It builds their academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, grammar, listening and speaking in English, while they adapt to life in Canada.

“The program has some really useful things for university,” said Bernard Xin, 18, of Beijing, who will be studying life sciences in September. “We’ve learned the writing format for research papers and had many good lectures, as well as life skills like cooking.”

“This program has helped me to become more mature,” said Toby Qin, 18, from Chongqing, who will be studying management in September. “I have learned to become more independent.”

Only excellent students are admitted to the 12-week program, and the summer period on campus gives them a solid level of orientation and preparatory time before the fall semester begins. Once the students successfully complete the Green Path program, they go directly into first-year undergraduate studies at U of T. Last year’s group of 76 students went on to extraordinary academic success in the recent school year. More than half of the courses taken by Green Path graduates resulted in scores in the A range.

The students live in residence, and their program includes social activities and field trips to popular tourist sites. Green Path is taught by faculty members from the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies’ English Language program.

“The Green Path program is innovative, it supports excellence, and it has global impact,” Prof. Vaccarino said at the ceremony. “It has laid the groundwork for students to excel here – much as they excelled in their studies in China.”

“This program is all about relationships – between institutions, between students, and between staff members at all of the partnering locations,” said Don MacMillan, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Services. “These graduates will be in high demand in the job market when they return to China, and our university will benefit tremendously from its connection with them, and from the role we are playing in training these future leaders.”







© University of Toronto Scarborough