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What is the education system in Canada like?

What is the education system in Canada like?

Canada’s school system is decentralized. Each province is responsible for institutions within its own boundaries, has its own core curriculum and a minister of education. Check what the school in Canada looks like, how Canadian students are assessed, and find out whether it is worth going to study in this country. What is the education system in Canada.

Education in Canada – Basic Information

Canada is a federal state that is divided into 10 provinces and three very large, sparsely populated territories. The individual provinces are responsible for the organization, implementation and financing of primary, secondary, post-secondary and vocational education. This means that Canada’s education system is decentralized. While there are many similarities in the education structure of the various provinces, each province has its own core curriculum, assessment methods, and minister of education. There is also no ministry or department for education at the federal level. The functioning body is the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), which enables discussions on topics of mutual interest, mutual educational initiatives, and representing the interests of provinces and territories in front of the federal government, governments of other countries or international organizations.

Public, Catholic and private schools in Canada

Canadian schools are divided into public, Catholic and private. In the public and Catholic systems, the curricula are similar and science is publicly funded. Catholic schools do not require students to be baptized and practice the faith, but encourage them to participate in church life.

Private schools in Canada may function similarly to state institutions and have a similar curriculum, but they are independent of the public school system. They can also be partially publicly funded as long as they meet certain criteria. Some private schools have a specific religious orientation.

Homeschooling is allowed in all Canadian provinces and territories once parents meet certain requirements. Unlike the United States, where the decision to teach at home is primarily driven by religious beliefs, Canadians assume that this will give their children a better education.

Compulsory education in Canada

The age at which students start and end compulsory education varies depending on the province and territory:

  • Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island – 5 to 16 years old,
  • British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon – from 6 to 16 years,
  • Saskatchewan – from 7 to 16 years old,
  • Manitoba – from 7 to 18 years old,
  • Ontario – from 6 to 18 years old,
  • Northwest Territories, New Brunswick – 5 to 18 years old.

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How long is the school year in Canada?

The school year in Canada runs from early September to mid-June. Holidays start in July or August depending on the province. In addition to them, Canadian students enjoy two weeks of winter and spring break, which is just like Americans at school in the USA.

Canada’s grading system

In Canada, every high school student is assessed globally for all subjects. The results of homework and tests are included in the completion of specific classes. The final grade is percentage.

As with compulsory education, Canadian schools’ grading system varies by territory and province. Typically, there are ranks from A (highest) to F (lowest). Universities use a scale extended with pros and cons for letters.

Canada’s education system – stages

Canada’s education system is divided into the following stages:

  • Kindergarten (kindergarten),
  • Elementary school (primary school),
  • High school (high school)
  • Preschool education

In Canada, kindergartens are not compulsory, except for a one-year training course, which is not required in only three regions. Children aged 2 to 5 can attend kindergartens. These institutions provide day care and are payable. Their cost depends on the province – the inhabitants of Ontario and British Columbia will pay the most, and Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Quebec will pay the least. The annual fee varies from 5 to 16 thousand. Canadian dollars a year, i.e. 15-50 thousand. zlotys. In Canada, pre-primary education may be free – public school institutions are usually free, but parents must pay for school supplies, excursions, and lunches.

Canadian kindergartens prepare for primary school education. Four-year-olds attend the so-called junior kindergarten, and many 5 years pass to senior kindergarten. In such institutions, learning takes place through play. Children learn to read, count and write. In addition, they develop their social and motor skills, build civic attitude and identity, shape creative thinking as well as a sense of personal and social responsibility.

Primary school

Children start compulsory education at the age of 6 or 7 in most provinces and territories. Primary education in Canada covers grades one through six and, in some regions, through eight. In Ontario, primary school also includes two years of kindergarten, i.e. junior and senior kindergarten.

Canadian students’ lesson plan includes subjects such as math, science and technology, health and physical education, music, arts, English, French, a second foreign language, native languages, history, reading, and social studies. As in the Polish education system, all classes are conducted by one teacher who also acts as an educator. Subject teachers do not appear until the older grades.

Canadian high school

High school in Canada has two stages: lower (junior high school) and higher (high school). The first one covers the seventh and eighth grades. These two years enable students to adapt to the new environment and to get used to classroom and teacher changes during the day. Junior high school is also to prepare young people for the requirements that they will have to meet at a later stage. Speech incl. about a higher level of individual subjects. High school usually lasts 4 years, but in some provinces there is an additional fifth year for those students who wish to continue their education at university.

During the first years of secondary education, students participate in general compulsory education. Older years of age have a choice of more specialized courses that can facilitate their enrollment in universities, e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, business, world religions and many others.

According to some sources, compulsory education in Canada does not result in any examination, and students only need to complete a sufficient number of compulsory and optional courses. On the other hand, other sources indicate that graduation from high school requires positive grades in examinations organized by individual provinces. Getting low grades can make it difficult to get into a university. Failing the test is an almost certain failure on the labor market. This problem is subject to a strong social taboo.

Study in Canada

Canada’s higher education is governed by the provincial government. Aspects such as tuition fees, language of study, organization of studies, and admissions process vary by territory. At the same time, the education system in Canada at the academic level is divided into three levels: bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies. The cost of studying at the university is from 15 to 55 thousand. Canadian dollars for the year. Most Canadian students complete their education with a bachelor’s degree.

In addition to universities that award professional and research degrees, high school graduates also have a choice of colleges. Institutions of this type issue certificates and diplomas. Learning is shorter than in universities – it lasts up to 3-4 years.