How common are French immersion programs?
How much homework do 15-year olds do?
Working while in school
Trends in high school drop-out rates
What influences the decision to pursue a college or university education?
How many young people go on to postsecondary education?
Household savings and spending on education
The costs of attending college or university
Paying for postsecondary education
Government student loan debt
What is the first year of college or university like?
Persistence in postsecondary education
University enrolment trends
What is education worth in the labour market?
It’s that time of year again – back-to-school for thousands of students, from kindergarten to college
and university. It’s a busy and exciting time for parents as well as they stock up on school supplies,
buy new clothing for their growing offspring and prepare for the start of another school year, teachers’
meetings, homework and report cards.
In honour of this annual ritual, we have put together a few facts relating to education, including the latest
research findings on the very important role that parents play in their children’s education, from setting
expectations, to playing an active part in their children’s learning, to spending on school supplies and
extracurricular activities, to saving for the eventual costs of college or university.
In 1994-1995, 42% of children between the ages of six months and five years were in some type of non-parental
child care; by 2002-2003, that percentage had risen to 54%.
The proportion of children six months to five years old in non-parental child care has risen since 1994-1995
Note: The estimate for 2000-2001 does not exactly match that which was released on February 7, 2005 in The Daily. The estimates in The Daily were based on an 'age in years at time of interview' variable that was a rounding of the child's age in months. For example, children who were between 19 and 29 months old were rounded to two years old. This method was revised for the re-release of the Cycle 4 dataset which took place after February 7, 2005. The estimates in this report reflect the revision.
Source: Bushnik, Tracey. 2006.
Child Care in Canada,
Statistics Canada Catalogue number 89-599-MIE — Number 003, page 10.
Parental involvement is linked to children’s school readiness. Research shows that greater parental involvement in
young children’s learning positively affects the child’s school performance, including higher academic achievement
and greater social and emotional development.
Simple interactions, such as reading to young children, may lead to greater reading knowledge and skills.
Children with richer home literacy environments and those involved in extracurricular activities in the community
demonstrate higher levels of reading knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry.
- The vast majority of Canadian parents reported that the general health of their 4- and 5-year olds was very good or excellent.
- Close to 60% of 4- and 5-year olds were read to on a daily basis by an adult.
- Close to 80% of 5-year old girls looked at books or tried to read them on their own on a daily basis, compared to 68% of boys.
- The vast majority of 4- and 5-year olds had normal or advanced receptive language skills.
- The parents of young boys were more likely to have them participate in coached sports, while the parents of young girls were more likely to have them involved in activities like dance and gymnastics, music or art lessons, and clubs and community groups.
Children's participation in out-of-school activities, 4- and 5-year olds, 2002-2003
Source: National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Cycle 5, 2002-2003, Statistics Canada.
French immersion programs were introduced into Canadian schools in the 1970s to encourage bilingualism across the country. These programs, in addition to providing an alternative education stream for many students, also present students with more options once they graduate from school and possibly seek employment that would require English or French or a combination of the two.
Homework is an essential part of a child’s education. As children progress through school, homework and the amount of time engaged in homework tend to increase. While empirical studies suggest that the amount of homework a student does is related to their academic student achievement, this relationship is also influenced by other factors, such as student ability, motivation and teacher quality.
- In 2000, about one in every five students aged 15 in English school systems had ever been enroled in a French immersion program.
- Two-thirds of those students started French immersion before Grade 4 (Early Immersion) and, on average, spent six years in such a program.
- For those who had started French immersion in Grade 1, about 10% did not continue the following year.
Prior to 1990, employment rates for 15 to 17 year-olds and for 18 to 24 year-olds were quite similar. But, beginning with the recession of the early 1990s, the employment patterns for the two groups began to diverge.
- The vast majority of 15-year olds do some homework outside of class. However, the amount of homework they do ranges widely.
- In 2000, whereas about one in three 15-year olds reported doing four or more hours of homework per week, one in four reported that they did less than one hour of homework per week.
- In general, students who spent more time on homework had higher reading skills, but the effect was small.
The recession affected 15 to 17 year-olds more strongly than their older counterparts. Employment rates for the younger age group declined 16.0 percentage points between 1989-1990 and 1997-1998; at 3.9 percentage points, the decline was much less pronounced for 18 to 24 year-olds. This created an employment gap between younger and older students that remains today.
- The percentage of high school students (ages 15 to 17) working at part-time jobs during the school year fell from 41% in 1989-1990 to 31% in 2004-2005. Students aged 18 to 24 years are much more likely to work than younger students during the school year – in 2004-2005, approximately 46% of them held jobs while going to school.
- In 2002, 17-year olds reported that the main reason they were not working at a job during the previous year of high school was because they preferred to focus on school work or activities instead of seeking paid employment.
Compared to students who worked one to less than twenty hours per week, high school students who did not work at all were more likely to drop out. Students who worked thirty or more hours per week were the most likely to drop out of high school.
Employment rate during the school year, full-time students, by age group, Canada, 1976-1977 to 2004-2005
Source: Usalcas, Jeannine and Geoff Bowlby. 2006. Students in the labour market. Education Matters. April 2006, volume 3 number 1. Statistics Canada Catalogue number 81-004-XIE.
Drop-out rates have declined significantly. During the 1990-1991 school year, 17% of 20- to 24-year olds were neither attending school, nor had a high school diploma; by 2004-2005, the drop-out rate had fallen to 10%.
Drop-out rates remain higher for boys than for girls – 12% in 2004-2005 compared to 7%. Their reasons for dropping out differ too.
Young males who dropped out were less engaged in school compared to both young males who did not drop out and to young women who did. School-related reasons dominated for both males and females. In addition, males were more likely than females to want to work/earn money as a reason for dropping out of high school; among young female drop-outs, pregnancy was a key factor.
Many drop-outs later return to complete their high school studies – of those who had dropped out of school by December 1999, 27% had graduated from high school by December 2003 and about half of these new graduates had gone on to postsecondary studies.
High school drop-outs1 as a percentage of all 20-24-year-olds, Canada and provinces, average of 1990-1991 to 1992-1993 and 2002-2003 to 2004-2005 school years
1 Defined as 20-24-year-olds without a high school diploma and not in school.
Source: Bowlby, Geoff. 2005. Provincial Drop-out rates - Trends and Consequences. Education Matters. vol. 2 no. 4. Statitics Canada Catalogue number 81-004-XIE.
The decision to pursue a postsecondary education can be influenced by many factors, such as family background, academic performance while in high school, parental expectations, and financing.
Four years after leaving high school in 1999, three quarters of 22- to 24-year olds had participated in some form of postsecondary education:
- Students who reported grades below 70% in the final year of high school are less likely to continue on to postsecondary education than students whose marks are higher than 70%.
- What youth believe their parents expect of them also seems to matter when it comes to pursuing postsecondary education – young people who felt that their parents expected them to go on to college or university were much more likely to do so than those who felt that their parents did not expect them to go on (67% compared to 34%).
- Youth who had at least one parent with some postsecondary education were more likely to go to college or university than other youth.
- Young people aged 18 to 24 years with estimated family earnings of $80,000 or more in 2001 were the most likely to pursue further education beyond high school; as family earnings decrease, so too does the percentage of youth who had pursued postsecondary education.
- A much higher percentage of youth for whom savings had been set aside for their education (either by themselves or by their parents) went on to college or university compared to youth for whom there were no savings.
- 44% had graduated from a postsecondary program;
- 21% were still in school; and
- 12% had dropped out before completing their program.
Among youth aged 20 to 22 in December 2001:
The percentage of households incurring education expenditures on school supplies, textbooks and tuition at the elementary-secondary and postsecondary levels remained stable between 2000 and 2004, at 43%; the average amount spent on education by these households was about $2,500 in 2004.
- 36% had participated in a college/CEGEP program;
- 33% had participated in a university program; and
- 18% had participated in some other type of postsecondary program.
The vast majority of parents – over 90% in 2002 – hope that their children will pursue a postsecondary education.
The percentage of children from newborn to age 18 whose parents had begun saving for their postsecondary education rose from 41% in 1999 to 50% in 2002.
Postsecondary aspirations and savings behaviour
Source: Survey of Approaches to Educational Planning 1999. The Daily, April 10, 2001 and Shipley, Lisa, Sylvie Ouellette, and Fernando Cartwright. 2003. Planning and preparation: First results from the Survey of Approaches to Educational Planning (SAEP) 2002. Catalogue number 81-595-MIE Number 010. page 39.
Considering only children who had savings set aside for them by their parents, the median amounts saved, at $7,900 in 2002, were highest for 13- to 18-year olds, reflecting the longer period over which parents had had time to save. This compares to $4,900 for children aged 6 to 12 years and $2,000 for preschool-aged children.
Median amounts saved by parents for their children’s postsecondary education as of October 2002, by child’s age
Source: Shipley, Lisa, Sylvie Ouellette, and Fernando Cartwright. 2003. Planning and preparation: First results from the Survey of Approaches to Educational Planning (SAEP) 2002. Catalogue number 81-595-MIE Number 010. page 39.
Average undergraduate university tuition fees rose from $2,500 in 1994-1995 to $3,800 in 2004-2005 (in constant 2001 dollars). The largest increases occurred in the faculties of dentistry, medicine and law. In 2004-2005, annual tuition fees in dentistry reached $11,400 (in constant 2001 dollars).
Average undergraduate tuition fees were highest in Nova Scotia in 2004-2005. Quebec undergrads continue to pay the lowest fees in the country as a result of a tuition freeze for Quebec residents that has kept fees at less than half the national average since the late 1990s.
Average undergraduate university tuition fees, Canada and provinces, 1994-1995 and 2004-2005
Source: Statistics Canada and Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. 2005. Education Indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program. Statistics Canada Catalogue number 81-582-XIE. Figure B2.3, page 26.
In 2002, the median amount spent by 18- to 24-year old college students students (17 to 24 in Quebec) on tuition, other fees, books and supplies was about $3,100; for university students, it was $5,000.
In addition, the average full-time university student living with their parents spent $4,400 on living expenses in 2002, compared to just over $8,160 for those who did not live with their parents. Median costs for full-time college students living at home were $3,700 compared to $8,100 for those living away from home.
In 2002, over one third of full-time students lived away from home while attending postsecondary school.
To pay for their postsecondary education costs, students rely heavily on employment earnings from jobs held both prior to starting school and during the school year. Approximately 46% of students between the ages of 18 and 24 worked during the 2004-2005 school year, compared to 28% in 1976-1977.
Financial support from parents and family is also a key source of funding for students, reported by close to 60% of students in 2002.
The parents of 40% of children 18 years old and younger expected that their child would receive a scholarship or award based on their academic performance that would help to finance their postsecondary education. In 2002, 15% of postsecondary students reported receiving such an award for the current academic year.
The parents of 11% of children 18 years old and younger expected that their child would take out loans from financial institutions or from family, friends or a spouse. In 2002, 27% of postsecondary students reported using this source of funding.
Percentage of current students aged 18-24 using source of funding
Source: Barr-Telford, Lynn, Fernando Cartwright, Sandrine Prasil and Kristina Shimmons. 2003. Access, persistence and financing: First results from the Postsecondary Education Participation Survey (PEPS). Statistics Catalogue number 81-595-MIE Number 007.
Overall, about 46% of the college and university graduates of 2000 held government student loan debt at graduation.
The average debt of those students was $18,900 for university graduates and $12,500 for college graduates.
University and college students who had government student debt upon graduation in 2000 had paid off a smaller percentage of their loans two years later than 1995 graduates had after two years.
Two years after graduation in 2000, both college and university grads had paid off about 28% of their student loan debt.
A look at the first-year experiences of 18- to 20-year olds at college or university in 1999 shows that:
About a quarter of a million 18-24 year-olds first began their postsecondary education in September 2000. Eighteen months later, three-quarters of the 18-24 year-olds were still in school, 7% had graduated, and about 16% had left postsecondary education prior to completion.
- 89% felt they had the skills and abilities to do well.
- 82% never or rarely missed deadlines.
- 79% said that first year helped them get a better idea of their future plans.
- 72% felt they had found the “right” program.
- 69% said that first year gave them skills that would help in the job market.
- 25% felt like a number most or all of the time.
- 23% skipped class once a week or more.
- 15% had trouble keeping up with the workload most or all of the time.
Between 1992-1993 and 2002-2003, university enrolment rose 18% to 675,500. Women accounted for 56% of these students in 2002-2003.
- When asked their main reason for dropping out of their most recent program, half of the youth cited reasons suggesting a lack of fit with either their programs or with postsecondary education in general.
- Reasons included under “lack of fit” include: not having enough interest or motivation, not being sure what they wanted to do, wanting to change programs or that the program was not what the youth wanted.
- The next most often cited group of reasons had to do with finances – cited by 29% of youth who left postsecondary studies. Financial reasons include: financial situation, could not get a loan, and wanting or needing to work.
In 2003, business, management, and public administration was the field of study with the greatest number of graduates; social and behavioural sciences and law ranked second and education, third.
What fields of study are students graduating from?
Source: “University degrees, diplomas and certificates 2003.” The Daily, October 11, 2005.
In 2004, the unemployment rate for 25- to 29-year olds with less than high school was 15% compared to 9% for high school graduates, 6% for college or trade graduates and 7% for university graduates.
In 2000, the average annual earnings1 of individuals aged 20 to 24 years with less than high school and those with a university degree were equal, at $14,000. At the age of 30 to 34, university graduates were earning $19,000 a year more than those with less than high school. The earnings gap was largest for 50- to 54-year olds, with university graduates earning $32,000 a year more on average than those with less than high school.
Clearly, education plays a big role in overall lifetime earnings.
Average employment income, by age group and education level, Canada, 2000
Source: 2001 Census of Population, Statistics Canada.
For individuals who had any earnings from employment during the year.