Chapter D
The learning environment and organization of schools

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D1. Instruction time
D2. Teachers' salaries
D3. Teachers' working time

D1 Instruction time

Context

This indicator examines the amount of time, as established in public regulations, that Canadian students aged 7 to 15 must spend in class. More precisely, this indicator shows the annual number of hours of compulsory and intended instruction time in the curriculum for students aged 7 and 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and at the age of 15. This information is for Canadian public institutions in 2009/2010 (the 2009/2010 school year). Data are presented for Canada, and for the provinces and territories.Note 1

Instruction time in formal classroom settings accounts for a large portion of the public investment in student learning and is a central component of effective schooling. The amount of instruction time available to students is the amount of formal classroom teaching they receive and can therefore determine their opportunities for effective learning. It is also central to education policy decision-making. Matching resources with students' needs and making optimal use of time are major challenges for education policy. The main costs of education are the use and deployment of teacher resources, institutional maintenance and other educational resources. The length of time during which these resources are made available to students is thus an important factor influencing the budget in education.

In combination with the information on teachers' salaries presented in Indicator D2 and teacher working time in Indicator D3, this indicator on instruction time contributes to the development of a set of key measures for full-time teachers in public institutions that, in turn, contribute to expanding the context for discussion of quality of instruction and understanding certain aspects of education processes.

Observations

Compulsory instruction time

In Canada in 2009/2010, the total cumulative compulsory instruction time in formal classroom settings was 7,363 hours, on average, between the ages of 7 and 14, which generally covers five of the six years of primary studies and three years at the lower secondary level: 1,834 hours between the ages of 7 and 8; 2,763 hours between the ages of 9 and 11; and 2,766 hours between the ages of 12 and 14. By comparison, total compulsory instruction time for the OECD countries for which data were available was 6,710 hours, or 653 fewer hours than the average total compulsory instruction time in all public institutions in Canada during the 2009/2010 school year (Chart D.1.1).

Chart D.1.1Chart D.1.1 Total number of cumulative compulsory instruction hours in public institutions, ages 7 through 14, Canada, 2009/2010

Determining total instruction time is a provincial or territorial responsibility in Canada. Choices relative to the average annual number of compulsory hours in a curriculum thus reflect priorities for the education that students receive at different ages. Total compulsory instruction time for students aged 7 to 14 varies by province and territory (Chart D.1.1). In 2009/2010, there was large variation from the Canadian average of 7,363 hours: from 6,869 hours in New Brunswick to 7,679 hours in Manitoba and 8,120 hours in the Northwest Territories.

In the case of 15-year-old students who were registered in typical programmes for this age (in general, this corresponds to the first year of upper secondary), the average annual number of hours of compulsory instruction time was 919 hours in Canada, close to the total compulsory instruction time reported for the OECD countries in 2009/2010. Total compulsory instruction time was below the Canada-level average of 919 hours in only three provinces: 880 hours in Prince Edward Island and Ontario, and 900 hours in Quebec. Total compulsory instruction time was above the average for Canada in all other provinces and territories (Table D.1.1).

Table D.1.1 Compulsory and intended instruction time in public institutions, ages 7 through 15, Canada, provinces and territories, 2009/2010

The Canadian average indicates that students received similar compulsory instruction time per year regardless of their age. This contrasts with the average for OECD countries, where compulsory instruction time increased with age, from 774 hours for students aged 7 and 8 to 920 hours for those who were 15. The average for Canada does not reflect a homogeneous situation across the country, however. Compulsory instruction time received was the same for all age groups in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. In Prince Edward Island, it was similar for students aged 7 and 8, 9 to 11 and 15 (879 or 880), but peaked at 925 hours for students aged 12 to 14. Ontario was the only province in which compulsory instruction time declined with age, from 940 hours in the primary grades (ages 7 to 13),Note 2 to 880 hours in the first years of high school (ages 14 and 15). Compulsory instruction time increased between the age of 7 and 8 and 15 in New Brunswick (196 hours more at age 15), Nova Scotia (139 hours), Manitoba (93 hours), British Columbia (77 hours), the Northwest Territories (53 hours) and Alberta (50 hours). In Nova Scotia and Manitoba, instruction time for 12- to 14-year-old and 15-year-old students was the same.

Intended instruction time

The OECD indicator distinguishes between compulsory and intended instruction time. In some countries, non-compulsory courses are offered that are complementary to the curriculum. Students do not need to take these courses in order to graduate, but can take them for enrichment, which in some cases is rewarded by credits. Intended instruction time captures compulsory core and compulsory flexible time, with the addition of non-compulsory instruction time. This measure complements compulsory instruction time by extending the notion of a student's opportunity to learn and of the public resources invested in education.

Throughout Canada's provinces and territories, there was no difference between the average number of compulsory and intended hours in the curriculum for 7- to 14-year-old students and 15-year-old students in 2009/2010 (Table D.1.1). There was no non-compulsory instruction time. All "optional" courses are actually integrated into compulsory instruction time. If choice of courses is available for the ages concerned, it is made within the time allotted to compulsory instruction. This is also the case in most other OECD countries. Only the following OECD countries had non-compulsory curriculum: Austria, Belgium (French community), Hungary, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic and Turkey.

Definitions, sources and methodology

Data on instruction time are from the 2011 OECD-INES Survey on Teachers and the Curriculum and refer to the 2009/2010 school year. Instruction time for 7- to 15- year-old students refers to the formal number of 60-minute hours per school year organized by the school for class instructional activities in the 2009/2010 reference year. Hours lost when schools are closed for statutory holidays are excluded.

Compulsory instruction time refers to the amount and allocation of instruction time that every public school must provide and all public-sector students must attend. The total compulsory curriculum comprises the compulsory core curriculum, as well as the compulsory flexible curriculum. Intended instruction time refers to the number of hours per year during which students receive instruction in the compulsory and non-compulsory parts of the curriculum. Intended instruction time does not include non-compulsory time outside the school day, homework, individual tutoring, or private study done before or after school.

The average for Canada is calculated by weighting the figures for provinces and territories by the population of children as of January 1, 2010,Note 3 in the respective age groups (7 and 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15) in each jurisdiction. All jurisdictions except Nunavut are taken into account in the Canada-level average.

Typical programme for 15-year-olds refers to the programme that most students at this age are following. When vocational programmes are also taken into account in typical instruction time, only the school-based part of the programme should be included in the calculations of instruction time.

Table 1
Calculation of instruction time by jurisdiction
Table summary
This table displays the results of calculation of instruction time by jurisdiction. The information is grouped by jurisdiction (appearing as row headers), source/notes on calculation of instruction time (appearing as column headers).
Jurisdiction Source/Notes on calculation of instruction time
Newfoundland and Labrador The Schools Act sets the minimum instruction hours per day (kindergarten, 2½ hours; Grades 1 to 3, 4 hours; and Grades 4 to 12, 5 hours). The collective agreement between the province and the teachers' association allows schools to provide up to a maximum of 5 hours of instruction per day for Grades 1 to 3. Compulsory and intended instruction time is 5 hours of instruction time per day multiplied by the number of instruction days (187) in a year.
Prince Edward Island Instruction times for ages 7 to 14 are total minutes per day devoted to a subject multiplied by 185 (instructional days per year). Minutes per day for each subject are set in provincial documents: A Flexible Integrated Model and Minister's Directive No. MD 99-05: Intermediate School Subject Time Allotments. Instruction time for age 15 is based on 8 credits at 110 hours per credit as set in Minister's Directive No. MD 99-01: Senior High School Graduation Requirements.
Nova Scotia The Ministerial Education Act Regulations set the minimum instruction time per day as 4 hours for grades Primary to 2 and 5 hours for grades 3 to 12. Regulated minimum instruction time includes recess for grades Primary to 6. Compulsory and intended instruction time are calculated based on the minimum instruction time per day (less 15 minutes per day for recess for ages 7 to 11) multiplied by the number of instructional days (187) per year.
New Brunswick Instruction time is based on the minimum number of hours of instruction per day set in the New Brunswick Regulation 97-150 under the Education Act (4 hours per day for kindergarten to Grade 2, 5 hours per day for Grades 3 to 8, 5½ hours per day for Grades 9 to 12). Compulsory and intended instruction time is the minimum instruction time per day, less 20 minutes per day for recess for ages 7 to 10 and 16 minutes per day for flexible scheduling /movement for ages 11 to 15 multiplied by the number of instructional days (185) per year.
Quebec Compulsory and intended instruction time is based on the suggested number of hours for compulsory subjects in elementary and secondary, outlined in the Basic School Regulation for Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Education.
Ontario Ontario Regulation 298 states that the length of the instructional program of each school day for pupils of compulsory school age should be not less than 5 hours a day. This excludes recess and scheduled intervals between classes. For ages 7 to 13, compulsory and intended instruction time is 5 hours of instruction multiplied by 188 instructional days per year. For ages 14 to 15, instruction time is based on 8 credits at 110 hours per credit.
Manitoba Manitoba Regulation 101/95 states that the instructional day in a school must be not less than 5.5 hours including recesses but not including the midday intermission. For Grades 1 to 6, the instructional day is 5 hours. For Grades 7 through 12, the instructional day is 5.5 hours. The total compulsory and intended instructional time is the hours of the instructional day multiplied by the average number of 185 instructional days in a school year.
Saskatchewan Time and Credit Allocations - Core Curriculum: Principles, Time Allocations, and Credit Policy (updated June 2011) provides the required minutes per subject per week for each grade.Those were divided by 60 to calculate (to two decimal places) the number of hours per week. The resulting value was multiplied by a factor of 38 (weeks in school year) to obtain hours per year.
Alberta In accordance with section 39(1)(c) of the School Act, the Guide to Education stipulates that schools are required to ensure that Grade 1 to Grade 9 students have access to a minimum of 950 hours of instruction per year in each grade. Schools must also ensure that students in Grades 10 to 12 have access to a minimum of 1,000 hours of instruction per school year.
British Columbia Compulsory and intended instruction time is based on the School Act Regulation that sets the total yearly hours of instruction for students.
Yukon Compulsory and intended instruction time is based on the 935 hours of legislated instructional time in the Yukon Education Act, section 46 (1) and (6).
Northwest Territories Compulsory and intended instruction time is based on the Northwest TerritoriesEducation Act which states that a school day shall consist of no less than 997 hours per year for Grades 1 to 6 and no less than 1,045 hours per year for Grades 7 to 12.

Note: The corresponding OECD indicator is D1, How much time do students spend in the classroom?.

D2 Teachers' salaries

Context

This indicator presents annual statutory salaries for teachers at the start of their careers, after 10 and 15 years' experience, and once they have reached the top of the salary scale. These categories reflect salaries for teachers with the minimum training required for certification in public elementary and secondary educational institutions. All data on these salaries are presented for teachers teaching at the three levels in the International Standard of Classification (ISCED) categories: primary (ISCED 1); lower secondary (ISCED 2); and upper secondary (ISCED 3) education.Note 4

Teachers' salaries represent the single largest expense in education (see Indicator B3 in this report). A comparison of salary figures at different points reveals some useful information on basic salary structures and the points of salary advancement in a teaching career. Salaries and the accompanying working conditions contribute towards developing, attracting and then retaining qualified teachers. Thus any compensation issue should be a major consideration for policy-makers or others in the education field who want and need to maintain a high quality of instruction while balancing their education budgets. At the same time, any interpretation of international comparisons of teacher compensation, including salaries, should be considered with several other factors in mind. While the salary figures for this particular indicator have taken differences in cost of living for Canada and its fellow OECD countries into account, it is not possible to capture all differences in taxation, social benefits and allowances, or any other additional payments that teachers may receive.

In combination with the information on instruction time and teachers' working time, presented in Indicators D1 and D3, respectively, this indicator on teachers' salaries contributes to the development of a set of key measures for full-time teachers in public institutions that, in turn, contributes to expanding the context for discussion of quality of instruction and understanding certain aspects of education processes.

Observations

Starting salaries in Canada

Generally, teachers' starting salaries in Canada do not depend on the ISCED level at which a teacher teaches. The starting salary for Canadian teachers in public elementary and secondary schools was close to $45,000 Canadian dollars in 2009/2010 (Table D.2.1). More specifically, "the starting annual statutory salaries" in the ISCED 1 and 2 categories, which represent teaching in primary and "lower secondary" (pre-high school), were each $44,861 (Chart D.2.1.1). The Canada-level starting salary for those at ISCED 3, or "upper secondary", schools was slightly higher, at $45,051 (Chart D.2.1.2), which is only due to the modestly higher starting salary of $42,440 reported for Ontario high school teachers. In all other jurisdictions, the starting salary is independent of the level or grade at which teachers teach (Chart D.2.1.1 and Chart D.2.1.2).

Table D.2.1 Annual statutory teachers' salaries in public institutions, by level of education taught and teaching experience, Canadian dollars, Canada, provinces and territories, 2009/2010

Among the 12 provinces/territories that reported salary information (2009/2010 data for Nunavut were not available), the starting salary was lower than the overall figure for Canada in 3 jurisdictions: Quebec ($39,238 regardless of level of teaching); British Columbia ($41,963 regardless of level of teaching); and Ontario ($42,030 for primary and lower secondary; $42,440 for upper secondary). The 2009/2010 figures for all the other provinces and territories were above the year's national average, increasing from the $45,511 reported by New Brunswick up to the Northwest Territories' figure of $66,022.

In general, the national and provincial/territorial salary figures reflect the gross yearly salary (in Canadian dollars) for a full-time teacher with the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified at the beginning of a teaching career (see the "Definitions, sources and methodology" for this indicator for more detail.)

Chart D.2.1.1Chart D.2.1.1 Annual statutory teachers' salaries, full-time teachers in primary and lower secondary institutions, by teaching experience, Canada, 2009/2010

Salaries throughout career experience

After 10 years' experience, primary and lower secondary teachers in Canada had annual salaries of $67,996 in 2009/2010 (Table D.2.1; Chart D.2.1.1), slightly below the $68,297 salary of their counterparts in upper secondary institutions (Chart D.2.1.2). In 8 of the 12 reporting jurisdictions, teachers at all three ISCED teaching levels had reached the top of the pay scales after 10 years' experience, typically making around one and a half times their starting salaries (Table D.2.1). Saskatchewan (14 years), New Brunswick (15 years), and Alberta (11 years) were among the exceptions; in 2009/2010, salaries in these provinces rose by approximately $1,700 to about $2,800 as teachers moved from 10 years of experience through to 15 and top-of-scale figures. The gap was most noticeable in Quebec, however, where the salary for 15 years' experience/top of scale was over $13,000 more compared with that for Quebec teachers who had reached the 10-year point on the salary scale. In addition, the province's top-of-scale salary was 1.8 times the starting salary figure.

Chart D.2.1.2Chart D.2.1.2 Annual statutory teachers' salaries, full-time teachers in upper secondary institutions, by teaching experience, Canada, 2009/2010

Number of years to reach top of salary scale

In Canada, annual statutory salaries for full-time teachers in public elementary and secondary schools were fairly consistent across levels of teaching in 2009/2010, particularly after several years of teaching experience had been acquired.Note 5 By contrast, in many of the countries that recently reported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), teachers' salaries tended to rise with the level of education taught.Note 6

Although the OECD and Canada averages reveal small differences between starting salaries and those at the top (ratios of 1.60, 1.62 and 1.63 for the OECD, and 1.60 at each level of education taught for Canada), Canada's teachers reached the top of their salary scales much sooner than their OECD counterparts (Table D.2.2). For example, the OECD average for "years from starting to top salary" for teachers in lower secondary institutions was more than double that for Canada in 2009/2010: 24 years compared with 11. This indicates that salary growth is much steeper in Canada in the early years of a teaching career. Among the reporting OECD countries, the amount of time needed to reach the top of the salary scale was lowest in Scotland (6 years), where, similar to Canada, salaries after obtaining 10 or 15 years' career experience were the same regardless of the ISCED level at which teachers were teaching. This pattern is also evident in Australia and England, although the starting and top salaries in all three of these OECD countries were below those for Canada. Teachers in several other countries also reached their maximum salaries relatively early (Estonia, 7; Denmark and New Zealand, 8; Australia, 9; Poland, 10; England, 12; and Slovenia, 13).

Table D.2.2 Annual statutory teachers' salaries in public institutions, by level of education taught and teaching experience, US dollars, Canada, provinces and territories, 2009/2010

The Canada average of 11 "years from starting to top salary" for teachers in the lower secondary category reflects 2009/2010 provincial/territorial figures that ranged from 9 years (Newfoundland and Labrador) to 15 (Quebec) (Table D.2.1 and Table D.2.2). Although the OECD presents 24 years as the corresponding average for its reporting countries, some vast differences from country to country make it somewhat difficult to consider meaningful provincial/territorial—international comparisons for this particular statistic. A review of the salary figures by teaching experience, however, clearly indicates that full-time teachers in public institutions in Canada receive higher salaries overall compared with their OECD counterparts. And, with a few exceptions, they also tend to reach their maximum salary after 10 years' experience—much sooner than their counterparts in other OECD countries (Chart D.2.2).

Chart D.2.2Chart D.2.2 Annual statutory teachers' salaries, full-time teachers in lower secondary institutions, by teaching experience, Canada and OECD, 2009/2010

Comparing starting salary levels

For all levels taught, starting salaries in Canada and its provinces and territories were generally consistently higher than the OECD averages for its reporting countries. Overall in Canada, the starting salaries for each ISCED category were around $34,000 (US dollars) (Table D.2.2). By comparison, the OECD figures began at $28,523 for teachers in primary education, increased by $1,278 for beginning salaries of $29,801 for teachers in lower secondary institutions, then rose again by $1,098 to bring the starting salary for teachers in the upper secondary category to $30,889 (all figures in US dollars).

The pattern of offering similar starting salaries across public elementary and secondary educational institutions seen in Canada is also evident in several other OECD countries. England, Scotland, Portugal, and Ireland, for example, all reported the same starting salaries for teachers in elementary and secondary schools, and their figures ranged between $30,000 and $33,000. Other countries also indicated identical starting salaries regardless of the level of education taught, but the salaries were much lower ($11,028 in the Slovak Republic; $11,876 in Estonia). Japan and Greece, as well as Slovenia, with across-the-board starting salaries of approximately $25,000 to $27,000, fell in between.

Starting salaries in the United States were higher when compared with the approximately $34,000 (US dollars) recorded for Canada in 2009/2010 (Table D.2.2): just below $37,000 in US public elementary and secondary schools. At the maximum salary level, however, the salary figure for teachers teaching at the primary education level in Canada was $54,978, over $2,500 higher than the US salary figure of $52,137. But the maximum salary levels for both lower and upper secondary were quite similar in the two North American countries: $54,978 and $55,191,Note 7 respectively, in Canada, compared with $55,259 and $55,199 in the United States.

Definitions, sources and methodology

The data on annual statutory teachers' salaries were derived from the 2011 OECD-INES Survey on Teachers and the Curriculum and reflect the 2009/2010 school year. All information has been reported in accordance with formal policies for public educational institutions.

"Statutory salaries" refer to salaries according to official pay scales and schedules. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, the annual statutory salaries are based on 2009/2010 salary scales in collective agreements between each jurisdiction's teachers' unions/associations/federations and the provincial or territorial government. In some provinces, however, namely Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, these pay scales are established at the school-board level and there is no province-wide bargaining.Note 8

The salaries reported are gross (total sum paid by the employer); i.e, they do not include the employer's contribution to social security and pension (according to existing salary scales). It is gross salary from the employee's point of view, since it includes the part of social security contributions and pension scheme contributions that are paid by the employees (even if deducted automatically from the employee's gross salary by the employer. Salaries are "before tax" (before deductions for income taxes). Gross teachers' salaries are presented in current Canadian dollars, to be compared with the averages for Canada, which were derived from the provincial values (Table D.2.1). The average salary for Canada was calculated as a weighted average of all provinces (i.e., the territories are not included). Weights used depend on the salary calculated. For teachers at the beginning of their careers (starting salaries), the number of full-time educators younger than 30 was used. For teachers with 10 years of experience, the number of full-time educators aged 35 to 44 years was used. And, for teachers with 15 years of experience, as well as those at the top of the salary scale, the number of full-time educators aged 45 or older was used. The territories are excluded from the Canada average because the Elementary-Secondary Education Survey (ESES) does not report a breakdown by age for the number of full-time educators. Salaries have also been converted to US dollars using the purchasing power parity (PPP)Note 9 for private consumption from the OECD National Accounts database - until last year, the OECD was using the purchasing power parity for gross domestic product (GDP); this allows international comparisons, and the same weighting applies for the calculation of the Canada level averages (Table D.2.2).

"Starting salaries" capture the scheduled gross salary per year for a full-time teacher with the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified at the beginning of a teaching career. Salaries after 10 and 15 years of experience refer to the scheduled annual salaries of full-time classroom teachers with the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified and 10 or 15 years of experience. The salaries reported for "top of scale" refer to the scheduled maximum annual salaries for full-time classroom teachers with the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified for the job.

The number of "years from starting to top salary" (lower secondary education) was calculated as a weighted average based on figures submitted by the provinces and territories (data for Nunavut were not available), weighted using the number of full-time educators. (The number of full-time equivalent educators was used for the Northwest Territories as the number of full-time educators was not available.)

Note: The corresponding OECD indicator is D3, How much are teachers paid?.

D3 Teachers' working time

Context

This indicator focuses on the working time and teaching time of teachers in public institutions, by level of education taught, in the 2009/2010 school year. Although working time and teaching time only partly determine teachers' workloads, they provide valuable insight into the different demands that provinces and territories place on their teachers. Together with teachers' salaries (see Indicator D2), this indicator describes some key aspects of teachers' working conditions. Data are presented for Canada, and for the provinces and territories.Note 10

Similar to instruction time for students (see Indicator D1) and teachers' salaries (see Indicator D2), the amount of time teachers spend teaching has an impact on education budgets. Moreover, teaching hours and the extent of non-teaching duties are major components of the working conditions and may have a direct bearing on the attractiveness of teaching as an occupation.

Of course, teachers also spend part of their working time on activities other than teaching, such as lesson preparation, marking, in-service training and staff meetings. A large proportion of working time spent teaching may indicate that less time is devoted to non-teaching duties in the school day, such as marking and lesson preparation.

Observations

Teaching time in primary education

Regulations concerning teaching time vary significantly from one province or territory to another. In Quebec, Alberta and Yukon, net teaching time is mandated in collective agreements, regulations or laws. In jurisdictions for which teaching time is not mandated, it was estimated. (see the "Definitions, sources and methodology" section for this indicator).

In primary education, the number of teaching hours per day in 2009/2010 varied from 4.1 hours in Quebec to 4.9 hours in Alberta.Note 11 The national average was 4.4 hours per day. Most of Canada's provinces and territories had more teaching time per day in primary school than the OECD average of 4.2 hours. With 4.1 hours, Quebec and New Brunswick were the exceptions, while British Columbia matched the OECD (Chart D.3.1).

Chart D.3.1Chart D.3.1 Hours of teaching time per day, by educational level taught, 2009/2010

In Canada, primary school teachers taught an average of 799 hours in 2009/2010, 17 hours more per year than the OECD average for primary-level net teaching time (782 hours) (Chart D.3.2.1). Annual net teaching time for a typical teacher in a primary public school varies by province and territory. In 2009/2010, Quebec (738 hours) had the lowest number of hours and British Columbia (771 hours), Prince Edward Island (786 hours) and Nova Scotia (795 hours) were close behind. Saskatchewan (855), Newfoundland and Labrador (860 hours) and Alberta (905 hours) had the largest number of teaching hours.

Chart D.3.2.1Chart D.3.2.1 Annual net teaching time and total working time, primary level, 2009/2010

Teaching time was close to instruction time (see Indicator D1) in all provinces and territories. The ratio of teaching time to instruction time was 99% in the average for the OECD countriesNote 12. It was between 88% and 95% in all jurisdictions, except in Quebec, where it was 82%. While more than half of jurisdictions reported that instruction time increases with age of students (see Indicator D1), teaching time does not typically increase with the level taught. Teaching time between primary and secondary school declines in three jurisdictions and does not change in three jurisdictions. Three jurisdictions reported that teaching time increases between primary and secondary school.

Teaching time in secondary education

In lower secondary education, there was an average of 183 days of instruction in Canada, slightly less than the OECD average (185 days) (Table D.3.1) For the OECD, the number of days of instruction decreased from 187 days at the primary level to 183 at the upper secondary level. In every province and territory except Yukon, the number of days of instruction time was the same at the primary and secondary levels. Days of instruction were lowest in Quebec (180 days) and highest in Saskatchewan (190 days), followed closely by Ontario and the Northwest Territories (188 days), and Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia (187 days).

Table D.3.1 Organization of teachers' working time, by educational level taught, Canada, provinces and territories, 2009/2010

The average number of hours of teaching time per day was lower at the lower secondary level than at the primary level in a majority of jurisdictions, but higher in Nova Scotia, where it increased from 4.3 hours for primary to 4.5 hours in lower secondary (Chart D.3.1), in British Columbia (from 4.2 hours to 4.5 hours) and in Saskatchewan and Alberta where hours per day were the same at all levels (4.5 and 4.9 hours respectively). In New Brunswick, hours of teaching per day were similar at primary and lower secondary levels (4.1 and 4.2 hours respectively) but rose to 4.7 hours in upper secondary.Note 13 Annual net teaching time for a typical teacher in a public school is generally higher in primary education than in secondary education across the OECD.

In addition, for all OECD countries combined, there are fewer hours of teaching time in general programmes of upper secondary education than in lower secondary education. In Canada in 2009/2010, net teaching time was 740 hours at the lower secondary level and almost the same (744 hours) at the upper secondary level. This represents, on average, 36 hours more than the OECD average for lower secondary education (704 hours) and 86 hours more than the OECD average for upper secondary education (658 hours). The annual teaching load differed between the two levels only in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and in New Brunswick; there were higher hours at the lower level in the former two provinces, and fewer hours in the latter (Table D.3.1).

The annual net teaching time at the lower level of secondary education varies by province and territory. It was below the national average of 740 hours in Quebec (612 hours) (Chart D.3.2.2) and exceeded 900 hours in Alberta (905 hours). It was between 768 and 855 hours for all other Canadian provinces and territories.

At the upper secondary level, annual net teaching time was below the national average of 744 hours in Quebec and Prince Edward Island (612 hours and 694 hours respectively) and exceeded 900 hours in Alberta (905 hours). It was between 804 and 860 hours in all other Canadian provinces and territories (Table D.3.1).

Working time required at school

Regulations concerning working time vary significantly. In Quebec, Alberta and Yukon, total working time is mandated. In jurisdictions for which working time is not mandated, it was estimated (see the "Definitions, sources and methodology" section of this indicator).

In lower secondary, total working time was lowest in the Yukon (950 hours) and highest in Quebec (1,280 hours), with Prince Edward Island (1,219 hours) and Alberta not far behind (1,200 hours) (Table D.3.1 and Chart D.3.2.2). Total working time was between 1,073 and 1,190 in all other provinces and territories. There were differences in total working time between lower secondary and upper secondary in only two provinces: it was lower in lower secondary in Prince Edward Island (1,219 hours compared with 1,234 hours) and in New Brunswick (1,160 hours compared with 1,253 hours) (Table D.3.1).

Chart D.3.2.2Chart D.3.2.2 Annual net teaching time and total working time, lower secondary level, 2009/2010

Proportion of total working time spent teaching

In Canada in 2009/2010, the proportion of total working time spent teaching was close to the OECD average for both primary and secondary education. At the primary level, this proportion was 65% for Canada and 66% for the OECD. At both the lower and upper secondary levels, it was 60% in Canada, while for the OECD, it was 60% at lower secondary and 59% for upper secondary (Chart D.3.3).

Time spent teaching as a proportion of total working time varied widely from one province or territory to another. In 2009/2010, at the primary level, the proportion of working time spent teaching was 58% in Quebec and 87% in Yukon (Chart D.3.3). It was between 65% and 75% in other jurisdictions. The proportion of time spent teaching declined with higher education levels in Quebec (from 58% in primary to 48% at lower and upper secondary), in Prince Edward Island (from 67% at the primary level to 56% at upper secondary level), and in Newfoundland and Labrador (from 75% at primary to 70% at upper secondary). This proportion increased between levels in New Brunswick (from 65% at primary to 69% at upper secondary), and in Nova Scotia (from 70% at primary to 74% at lower and upper secondary).

Chart D.3.3Chart D.3.3 Net teaching time as a percentage of total working time, 2009/2010

Definitions, sources and methodology

The data are from the OECD-INES 2011 Survey on Teachers and the Curriculum and refer to the 2009/2010 school year.

All jurisdictions reported instruction time in weeks and days. Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories did not report teaching time in hours per day, and therefore net teaching time or working time required at school could not be calculated. Only Quebec, Alberta and Yukon reported statutory working time. For those three reporting jurisdictions, the figures for net teaching and working time required at school are set in provincial/territorial regulation or collective agreement with the provincial/territorial teachers' union/association/federation. The five remaining jurisdictions reporting figures estimated teaching and working time of teachers based on the mandated instruction time set in regulation, legislation or collective agreement in each jurisdiction.

The "number of weeks of instruction" and the "number of days of instruction" exclude the days per school-year the school is closed for holidays (public holidays and seasonal school holidays).

"Net teaching time"refers to the number of hours per day or hours per year that a full-time teacher teaches a group or class of students, as determined by policy. Net teaching time in hours per year is normally calculated as the number of teaching days per year multiplied by the number of hours a teacher teaches per day (excluding periods of time formally allowed for breaks between lessons or groups of lessons). At the primary level, short breaks between lessons are included if the classroom teacher is responsible for the class during those breaks. Apart from Quebec, Alberta and Yukon, net teaching time was estimated by subtracting from mandated instruction time (as defined in Indicator D1), time allowed for teachers during the school day for marking and preparation as well as recess, if the latter was included in instruction time and if supervision of children was not mandatory.

"Working time required at school" represents the normal working hours of a full-time teacher. Working time may include the time spent specifically on teaching and the time devoted to teaching-related activities required at school, such as lesson preparation, counselling students, correcting homework and tests, professional development, meetings with parents, staff meetings and general school duties. Working time does not include paid overtime. In jurisdictions for which working time is not mandated, working time was estimated by adding supervision time, time for meetings and time for professional development to mandated instruction time.

"Total statutory working time" is the time that teachers are required to spend at work, including teaching and non-teaching time, as specified in regulation or collective agreements.

For all variables, the Canada level average is weighted by the number of full-time educators, for all levels of education combined,Note 14 for all jurisdictions who submitted figures for both teaching time and working time.

Note: The corresponding OECD indicator is D4, How much time do teachers spend teaching?.

Notes

  1. Data for 2009/2010 were not available for Nunavut.
  2. In Ontario, the figures reported for ages 7 through 13 are based on minimum requirements for instruction time as outlined in provincial regulations. Ontario students typically move to high school at age 14 (Grade 9), which must be considered when interpreting Ontario's averages for ages 12 to 14.
  3. Longitudinal interpolation was applied to population estimates for July 1, 2009 and July 1, 2010, taken from CANSIM table 051-0001, to arrive at the population estimates for January 1, 2010.
  4. See the "ISCED classifications and descriptions" section in this report's Notes to readers for brief descriptions of the ISCED categories.
  5. Salary figures for Canada and other OECD countries can be compared using the US dollar figures that have been converted using purchasing power parity (PPP) for private consumption, which accounts for differences in cost of living across countries. A similar adjustment for comparisons across provinces and territories could not be done as it would require provincial/territorial figures for PPP, which have not yet been developed.
  6. The international data presented in this report reflect the figures available from the OECD at the time of writing; however, the OECD may have made further final adjustments. For more detailed information on the latest international statistics, please refer to Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators, available on the OECD Web site.
  7. As previously mentioned, the slightly higher figure for Canada's high school (upper secondary) teachers is due to the modestly higher starting salary reported for the Ontario teachers at this level.
  8. In Ontario, the estimates are the midpoint of the range that is funded by the province. In Manitoba, estimates are averages across all school boards. In Alberta, the salaries shown reflect averages weighted on the student population in each school board. In British Columbia, salaries are those of the Surrey School District.
  9. For Canada, the PPP adjustment factor for 2009/2010 is 1.3025 US$/CAN$, which takes into account differences in cost of living across countries. A similar adjustment for comparisons across provinces and territories could not be done as it would require provincial/territorial figures for PPP, which have not yet been developed.
  10. Data for the 2009/2010 school year were not available for Nunavut.
  11. Alberta's net teaching time (hours per day and hours per year) and "working time required at school" reflect the maximum time a full-time teacher can be assigned to teach or to work and may not necessarily be the actual hours a teacher is assigned.
  12. This is the ratio of net teaching time in primary level from Table D.3.1 (782 hours) and the average of compulsory instruction time (in Table D.1.1) at ages 7 and 8 (774 hours) and at ages 9 to 11 (821 hours) giving 798 hours, and a ratio of 0.98, or 98%.
  13. New Brunswick's reporting for 2009/2010 has resulted in an under-representation of net teaching time for lower secondary and upper secondary.
  14. The data were taken from the Elementary-Secondary Education Survey (ESES). The number of full-time educators for all levels combined was used because the ESES does not provide a breakdown of the number of teachers per ISCED level.
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