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International Day of Education

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Released: 2020-01-24

Today is the International Day of Education, a day set by the United Nations General Assembly to emphasize the fact that education is a fundamental right and public good.

Statistics Canada tracks a range of education indicators—from teaching time to educational outcomes to international test results—so that Canadians can see how Canada ranks internationally and so that educators and policy makers can learn from the policies and practices in place in other countries.

More time spent teaching

In Canada, primary school teachers taught an average of 797 hours in 2017/2018, which is more than the average of 783 hours reported in the 36 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Furthermore, in upper secondary schools (students aged 15 to 17), Canadian teachers taught an average of 746 hours, compared with the OECD average of 667 hours.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Annual net teaching time, by level of education taught, 2017/2018
Annual net teaching time, by level of education taught, 2017/2018

Canadians lead in postsecondary education

Canada is a leader when it comes to postsecondary education. In 2018, 58% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had a college or university education—the highest proportion among the G7 countries—compared with an average of 37% among OECD countries.

About 8% of Canadians in that same age group had not completed high school, compared with an average of 21% among OECD countries.

However, Canadians were less likely to have obtained a master's or doctoral degree, with 10% reporting this educational attainment, compared with 14% among OECD countries.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Population with a college or university education
Population with a college or university education

Students score high on reading test

In the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Canadian students ranked fourth overall in reading, behind Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong (China), Singapore and Macao (China). PISA is an OECD survey conducted by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, every three years to measure how 15-year-old high school students fare in reading, science and math.

While Canadian students' reading and math scores were above the OECD average, one in six students in Canada did not reach the baseline level of proficiency in mathematics that is required to participate effectively and productively in modern society.

Education Statistics Portal

A wealth of data on education-related topics is available through the agency's Education Statistics Portal, which was launched in December to make it easier for Canadians to access the latest education statistics. Topics covered in the portal range from education and labour market outcomes to educational attainment and spending on education.

The portal also includes links to the agency's infographics on education topics, as well as to the new data visualization tools.

  Note to readers

Data were taken from Statistics Canada's report Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2019 (Catalogue number81-604-X), and the Council of Ministers of Education's report Measuring up: Canadian Results of the OECD PISA 2018 Study.

Contact information

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