Education in Canada
Joined Commonwealth: 1931 (Statute of Westminster)
Population: 33,573,000 (2009)
GDP p.c. growth: 2.1% p.a. 1990-2009
UN HDI 2010: world ranking 8
Public spending on education was 4.9% of GDP in 2008. There are 11 years of compulsory education starting at age six; education policy varies with province. The primary female-male ratio is 1.00:1 and the secondary female-male ratio is 0.98:1 (2007). Most primary and secondary schooling is publicly funded. The school year starts in September.
Post-secondary education expanded rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s; women have shown the faster increase, and now outnumber men. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada represents 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges (2011). There are more than 1,000 public libraries, containing more than 70 million volumes. There is virtually no illiteracy among people age 15-24.
At the 93rd Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) meeting in 2008 ministers of education from across Canada met in Toronto and agreed to new initiatives in Aboriginal education, literacy, and post-secondary education capacity, reflecting their key priorities. Ministers affirmed that eliminating the education gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples was an economic and moral necessity.
Learn Canada 2020, a vision created by ministers of education from across Canada to address education needs and aspirations of Canadians, comprises the four pillars of lifelong learning: early childhood learning and development; elementary and secondary schooling; postsecondary education; and adult learning and skills development.
Ministers acknowledged the importance of post-secondary education in creating a highly skilled workforce needed for a vigorously competitive knowledge-based economy.