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Education indicators in Canada: An international perspective

Released: 2019-12-10

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Canada

8%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — N.L.

13%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — P.E.I.

11%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — N.S.

10%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — N.B.

11%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Que.

11%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Ont.

7%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Man.

10%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Sask.

10%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Alta.

8%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — B.C.

6%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Y.T.

7%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — N.W.T.

19%

2018

Percentage of adult Canadians without a high school diploma — Nvt.

42%

2018

Students' awareness of environmental issues is increasing in Canada and in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A new report, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2019, provides a range of information on education indicators including a chapter that highlights environmental awareness among 15-year-old students in response to the Sustainable Development Goals.

A higher proportion of Canadian students report being aware of environmental issues compared with the average of students in all OECD countries

In the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 15-year-old students were asked about their awareness of specific environmental issues: the use of genetically modified organisms, nuclear waste, the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the consequences of clearing forests for other land use, air pollution, extinction of plants and animals, and water shortage.

Canadian students were more likely to self-report being aware of these issues compared with the average of students in all OECD countries, with the exception of water shortage.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, Canada and OECD, 2015¹
Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, Canada and OECD, 2015¹

Students are becoming more aware of environmental issues

In 2015, a higher proportion of students both in Canada and in all OECD countries, on average, reported being aware of environmental issues compared with 2006. In Canada, this increase was most pronounced around the issue of genetically modified organisms (up 15 percentage points to 59%). While awareness around the consequences of clearing forests for other land use was little changed from 2006 (82% in 2015 versus 81% in 2006), it remained the issue with the highest level of awareness among students in 2015.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, Canada, 2006 and 2015¹
Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, Canada, 2006 and 2015¹

Chart 3  Chart 3: Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, OECD average, 2006 and 2015¹
Proportion of 15-year-old students who self-reported being aware or well-aware of environmental issues, OECD average, 2006 and 2015¹

A higher proportion of boys report being aware of environmental issues compared with girls

In Canada, a higher proportion of boys reported an awareness of environmental issues compared with girls, with the exception of the extinction of plants and animals. The rates of awareness of the extinction of plants and animals were very similar in 2015 (85% of girls compared with 84% of boys). The gap between boys and girls was largest for the issue of nuclear waste, where 64% of boys reported being aware—that is, 14 percentage points higher than girls.

Across all provinces, and within the OECD countries, girls were less likely to follow news of science, environmental, or ecology organizations via blogs or microblogging. Almost 60% of girls reported very rarely following the news on these topics compared with approximately 50% of boys.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Proportion of 15-year-old students who very rarely follow news of science, environmental, or ecology organizations via blogs and microblogging, by gender, Canada and OECD, 2015
Proportion of 15-year-old students who very rarely follow news of science, environmental, or ecology organizations via blogs and microblogging, by gender, Canada and OECD, 2015 

Students believe environmental issues will get worse

As a part of PISA 2015, students were also asked to provide their views on the future for a range of environmental issues. For example, 66% of students in Canada and an average of 55% of students in all OECD countries believed that the extinction of plants and animals will get worse over the next 20 years. In Canada, this sentiment was more pronounced among students with a higher proficiency in science (74%), compared with those with a lower proficiency in science (41%). This difference was also apparent for OECD countries, where an average of 62% of students with a higher science proficiency believed the issue would get worse compared with 39% of students with a lower proficiency.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Proportion of 15-year-old students who believe that the extinction of plants and animals will get worse over the next 20 years, by science proficiency level, Canada and OECD, 2015
Proportion of 15-year-old students who believe that the extinction of plants and animals will get worse over the next 20 years, by science proficiency level, Canada and OECD, 2015

  Note to readers

Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2019, is the 11th in a series of reports designed to complement the annual report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on education indicators, Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators.

The 13 indicators presented in this 2019 Canadian compendium represent a selection of indicators that were developed to align with the definitions and methodologies used by the OECD in its most recent report, Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators. Data for Canada and its provinces and territories were drawn from several data sources and various reference years, as required to provide comparisons with OECD figures.

The 2019 indicator set for Canada, the provinces and territories captures information on educational attainment, graduation and completion rates at the secondary level, labour market outcomes, expenditures per student, expenditures on education, international students, transitions to the labour market, and the learning environment and organization of schools. It also presents a selection of topics related to the educational Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students; in addition, it provides information about a range of factors that contribute to the success of students, schools, and education systems. PISA is a collaborative effort among OECD member countries.

Data for Canada, provinces and territories presented in the report were prepared by the Canadian Education Statistics Council, a partnership between Statistics Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. The report is part of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program of Statistics Canada.

Data for the OECD member countries are from the OECD publication Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators, available on the OECD website.

Products

The publication Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2019 (Catalogue number81-604-X), is now available.

The public is also invited to chat with an expert on Friday, December 13, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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