Summary Public School Indicators for Canada, the Provinces and Territories, 2001/2002 to 2007/2008
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by Riley Brockington
Over 5.11 million students were enrolled in public schools in the academic year 2007/2008, a 4.5% decrease from 2001/2002. This continued a downward trend which has seen declines every year since 2002/2003.
Alberta and Nunavut were the only two jurisdictions that experienced enrolment increases since 2001/2002. Alberta's enrolment was just over 559,000 in 2007/2008, up 2.0% from 2001/2002. Nunavut's enrolment stood just over 9,000, up 3.3% from 2001/2002.
The only province to record an enrolment increase from 2006/2007 to 2007/2008 was Saskatchewan, where enrolment increased 1.2%.
With the exception of Saskatchewan, all provinces and territories experienced decreases in their enrolment levels between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. The largest decreases occurred in Prince Edward Island, 3.9%, Newfoundland and Labrador, 3.0% and the Northwest Territories, 3.0% (Chart 1.1 and Table A.1). Alberta, which experienced steady enrolment increases from 2004/2005 through 2006/2007, experienced a slight decline in 2007/2008 by 0.3%.
Overall, between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, enrolment declined in the four Atlantic provinces faster than any other province, with a decline of 17.1% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 11.8% in Nova Scotia, 10.2% in New Brunswick and 10.1% in Prince Edward Island (Table A.1).
This is consistent with population estimates data which show that the population aged 5 to 17 declined by 14.8% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 11.4% in Nova Scotia, 10.0% in New Brunswick and 9.3% in Prince Edward Island over the corresponding period (Table A.31). The aging population, lower birth rates and continued migration to other parts of Canada are some of the main reasons for these declines.
There were slightly more males than females enrolled in Canadian public schools in 2007/2008, with 51.4% of enrolments consisting of males. This ratio remained constant over the 2001/2002 to 2007/2008 period across all provinces and territories in Canada and is also consistent with population estimates of the school-age population.
Although total enrolment across Canada continued to decrease, enrolment in second language immersion programs in public elementary and secondary schools increased steadily every year. Just over 311,000 students were enrolled in a second-language immersion program in 2007/2008, up 2.2% from a year earlier and up 11.6% since 2001/2002 (Table A.5).
Over the six-year period between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the total number of students enrolled in second language immersion programs increased 39.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 31.7% in British Columbia and 19.3% in Nova Scotia (Table A.5, Chart 1.2).
Enrolment for students taking an Aboriginal language as a course of instruction has remained relatively unchanged over the study period, not only at the Canada level, but across all jurisdictions. In 2007/2008, there were under 47,000 students taking an Aboriginal language as a subject of instruction, down slightly by 0.6% from 2006/2007 and down 1.6% from 2001/2002 (Table A.7).
However, enrolment is increasing for children identified with special needs. Over 568,000 students were identified with special needs in 2007/2008, up 1.1% from a year earlier and up 6.8% since 2001/2002 (Table A.8).
Just over 327,000 students graduated from publicly funded secondary schools in the 2007/2008 academic year. This figure represents an increase of 1.8% from 2006/2007 and 5.2% from 2001/2002.
All but two provinces and territories recorded increases in the number of graduates between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. The total number of graduates increased 4.2% in Ontario and 3.1% in Manitoba. All three territories recorded strong increases in their number of graduates. The number of graduates decreased in Saskatchewan by 4.5% and Newfoundland and Labrador by 1.8% (Table A.10).
Over the six-year period between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the total number of graduates increased 12.3% in Manitoba, 11.5% in Alberta and 9.9% in Quebec. The three territories also recorded strong gains in the number of graduates over the same period, with a two-fold increase in the Northwest Territories, 54.0% increase in Nunavut and 30.5% in the Yukon (Table A.10).
Newfoundland and Labrador reported a 13.4% decrease in the number of graduates between 2001/2002 to 2007/2008, followed by a 6.3% decrease in New Brunswick. This decline is similar to overall population declines for 17 and 18 year olds (Table A.10, Table A.31, Chart 2).
In 2007/2008, the graduation rate for publicly funded secondary schools stood at 71.0%, down from 71.3% in 2006/2007 (Chart 3).
In the 2007/2008 academic year, the four Atlantic provinces recorded the highest graduation rates, with Prince Edward Island peaking at 84.3%, followed by Nova Scotia at 81.1%, New Brunswick at 80.5% and Newfoundland and Labrador at 76.3% (Table A.11).
Manitoba recorded the lowest graduation rate among the provinces in 2007/2008 at 65.1%.
In 2007/2008, the graduation rate for Nunavut stood at 32.0%, the first time it exceeded 30.0%.
The graduation rate at the Canada level in 2007/2008 was higher for females (74.8%) than for males (67.5%). Provincial graduation rates for both females and males were highest in Prince Edward Island at (85.7% and 82.9% respectively) and lowest in Manitoba at 67.7% for females and Alberta at 62.5% for males.
In 2007/2008, the graduation rate for females exceeded the rate for males in every jurisdiction, with the exception of Saskatchewan, which recorded a 72.4% graduation rate for males compared to 71.5% for females.
The province with the largest female-male percentage-point difference in graduation rates occurred in Quebec, with an 8.9% difference. The smallest difference occurred in Saskatchewan which had a 0.9% difference between the two sexes.
Despite declining enrolments across Canada, the total number of educators (full-time equivalent) continued to increase for the fourth straight year. In 2007/2008, there were just under 333,000 educators, up 1.1% from 2006/2007 and up 5.2% from 2001/2002.
Most provinces and territories reported increases in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) educators between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. The number of educators increased by 3.6% in both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Alberta posted the largest provincial decline, decreasing by 2.5%, followed by decreases in Saskatchewan, 2.0% and Yukon, 1.0% (Table A.13).
Between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the largest increase in the number of full-time equivalent educators at the provincial level was in Ontario (11.8%), Prince Edward Island (8.1%), and New Brunswick (7.1%). During the same period, student enrolment decreased 3.5% in Ontario, 10.1% in Prince Edward Island and 10.2% in New Brunswick.
Between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the number of full-time equivalent educators fell 12.2% in Newfoundland and Labrador, 5.9% in British Columbia and 4.7% in Saskatchewan (Table A.13).
In 2007/2008, 70.8% of the educators in Canadian public schools were female. This increased from 68.0% in 2001/2002. The proportion of female educators increased in every province.
Between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the number of educators in Canada, aged 29 or younger remained stable. In 2001/2002 there were 53,700 educators (full-time and part-time headcount) in this age bracket compared to 58,300 in 2007/2008. This represents an 8.7% increase. This increase is driven by the number of part-time educators, up from 15,600 in 2001/2002 to 21,200 in 2007/2008. Although the number of younger educators in the education system has increased incrementally over the survey period, the number of educators in Canada aged 60 and above increased substantially. In 2001/2002 there were 5,100 educators (full-time and part-time headcount) compared to 12,500 in 2007/2008, more than doubling this segment of the population. The increases were consistent for full-time educators and for those working part-time.
The student-educator ratio in Canada has decreased every year between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008. A decline in the student-educator ratio means fewer students per educator.
The Canada student-educator ratio in 2007/2008 was 14.4 students per educator.
With the exceptions of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Yukon, the student-educator ratio decreased in every jurisdiction in 2007/2008 over the previous year (Table A.14).
In 2007/2008, the student-educator ratio was highest in Alberta (17.2 students/educator), British Columbia (16.5 students/educator), and Saskatchewan (15.3 students/educator) and lowest in Yukon (10.6 students/educator), Prince Edward Island, (11.5 students/educator) and Newfoundland and Labrador (12.5 students/educator) (Chart 6 and Table A.14).
Total expenditures in public elementary and secondary schools in Canada increased by almost twice the rate of inflation between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008.
Total expenditures rose to $51.2 billion in 2007/2008, up 2.9% from a year earlier and 28.6% since 2001/2002 (Chart 7, Table A.19). During the same six-year period, the rate of inflation rose 14.0% (Table A.36).
Between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, total expenditures increased 39.1% in Alberta, 31.9% in Ontario and 27.5% in New Brunswick.
Nova Scotia posted the smallest increase in total expenditures from 2001/2002 to 2007/2008 with an increase of 11.2%, the only province to record an increase lower than the rate of inflation during the same period.
Between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, operating expenses increased 3.6% at the Canada level to $46.3 billion. The largest increases at the provincial level occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador with expenditures rising 7.9%, Prince Edward Island increased by 6.9% and New Brunswick increased 5.6%. Quebec experienced the smallest percentage increase of 2.1% (Table A.17).
In 2007/2008, operating expenditures represented90.4% of total education spending across Canada, while capital expenditures represented 7.0%; the remaining 2.6% consisted of other expenditures, mainly interest payments on debt services (Tables A.17, A.18 and A.19).
Between 2001/2002 and 2007/2008, the increase in operating expenditures was greatest in Alberta, which increased by 39.9% during the survey period, and smallest in Nova Scotia, which increased by 16.4% (Table A.17).
Capital expenditures across Canada decreased 6.1% to $3.6 billion between 2006/2007 to 2007/2008, the first decrease since 2003/2004. In 2007/2008, capital expenditures reached their highest levels in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Alberta and the Northwest Territories (Table A.18).
It should be noted that unlike operating expenditures, it is common for capital expenditures to fluctuate greatly from year to year, depending on the size of investment in new construction, major renovation projects or other large capital initiatives and when this does occur, particularly in smaller jurisdictions, the percentage change from one period to another, can be quite large.
A building boom in Alberta has pushed capital expenditures in 2007/2008 to $483.4 million, a 64.9% increase over the previous year and an all-time high for capital projects in the province, while Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 22.1%.
Capital expenditures decreased in eight jurisdictions in 2007/2008 from a year earlier, with the largest provincial decline in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 35.1% and New Brunswick at 34.8%.
Total expenditures per student in public elementary and secondary schools averaged $10,678 (current dollars) across Canada in 2007/2008. This was up 3.8% from one year earlier and up 35.2% from 2001/2002 (Table A.20.1). In comparison, the inflation rate in Canada over the 2001/2002 to 2007/2008 period was 14.0%.
In 2007/2008, total expenditures per student were highest in the three territories, peaking at $20,539 per student in Yukon. At the provincial level, total expenditures per student ranged from a high of $11,086 in Alberta to a low of $9,260 in Prince Edward Island.
Since 2001/2002, the increase in total expenditures per student ranged from 51.9% in the Northwest Territories, followed by 46.2% in Newfoundland and Labrador to a low of 15.8% in Nunavut.
Over the six year study period, with the exception of Nunavut, total expenditures per student rose at a significantly higher rate than the rate of inflation in every jurisdiction (Table A.20.1 and A.36).
Average remuneration of educators5
Average remuneration per educator (in current dollars) rose 2.8% to $69,046 across Canada between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. All jurisdictions posted an increase (Table A.15).
The largest increases from 2006/2007 to 2007/2008 were in Alberta where average remuneration per educator rose 9.6% in 2007/2008, followed by Yukon (increase of 8.6%) and Nunavut (increase of 5.1%).
Across the provinces, average remuneration per educator varied between $80,393 in Alberta to $53,928 in Prince Edward Island in 2007/2008. Average remuneration per educator was highest in the three territories at $123,303 in Nunavut, $88,943 in Yukon and $88,657 in the Northwest Territories.
In 2007/2008, New Brunswick had the smallest gap between the average remuneration per full-time educators versus full-year, full-time workers who had a Bachelor's degree in 2007. The average remuneration for educators was $59,500, compared to $60,300 for full-year, full-time workers, with a Bachelor's degree, a difference of $800. Manitoba was the jurisdiction with the largest gap between the average remuneration per full-time educator ($70,500) and average remuneration of a full-year, full-time worker with a Bachelor's degree ($52,600), a difference of $17,900.
New Brunswick was the only jurisdiction where the average remuneration of full-year, full-time workers who had a Bachelor's degree exceeded the average income of educators, by $800 (Chart 9 and Table A.15 and A.34).
The number of graduates is at the end of the school year, while population estimates are as of July 1 of the corresponding school year. Late graduates are included in the calculations while graduates from private schools are not.
For this reason, the methodology underestimates the actualgraduation rate. The graduation rate should not be used to infer a dropout rate. The four programs that comprise the graduate pool are: regular programs for youth, adult upgrading programs (GED), vocational programs for youth and vocational programs for adults.
Due to the small population in the three territories, changes in the number of graduates may yield high percentage changes from year to year.
The graduation rate used by the Elementary Secondary Education Survey (ESES) is aligned with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) requirements in order to ensure that Canadian graduation rate data can be compared with other nations. It is calculated by dividing the number of graduates by the average of the 17 and 18 year old population:
Graduation rate = Graduates (High school graduates (youth and adults) and Vocational program graduates (youth and adults))/Average number of the 17 and 18 year-old population
Due to differences in reporting, comparing graduation rate data between jurisdictions should be done with caution.
- The term "educator" refers to not only a teacher, but to all employees in the public school system who are required to have teaching certification as a condition of their employment. This definition generally includes principals, vice-principals and professional non-teaching staff such as education consultants, guidance counselors and religious and pastoral counselors.
- Note that the student-educator ratio is not the same as the student-teacher ratio. The student-educator ratio includes teachers, as well as personnel outside of the classroom, such as principals, counselors and specialists.
- Changes in methodology for Alberta does not allow for data comparability prior to 2004/2005, as well as for Nova Scotia, prior to 2005/2006.