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Chapter A: The output of educational institutions and the impact of learning

A1 Educational attainment of the adult population

  • In Canada, the proportion of adults aged 25 to 64 with tertiary education (the equivalent of college and university completion) increased from 42% in 2001 to 51% in 2011—the highest rate among OECD countries. At the same time, the proportion of individuals with less than high school completion (labelled as “below upper secondary”) decreased, from 18% to 11%. Similar changes were mirrored in the provinces.
  • Ninety-two percent of Canadian adults aged 25 to 34 had attained at least upper secondary education in 2011, compared with 83% for those aged 55 to 64, reflecting change in attainment patterns for high school completion over time. There were relatively small differences between provinces in the proportion of adults aged 25 to 34 with at least a high school diploma; 2011 figures for all provinces ranged from 90% to 94%.
  • In 2011, one-quarter (25%) of 25- to 64-year-olds in Canada had completed tertiary-type B programmes, far greater than the average of 10% reported by the OECD for its member countries. In Canada, tertiary-type B includes non-university certificates or diplomas from community colleges, CEGEPs, or schools of nursing, as well as university certificates below the bachelor’s level. The proportion of women who had successfully completed tertiary-type B programmes (28%) was higher than the proportion for men (21%). In the traditionally male-dominated areas of trades and apprenticeship (“postsecondary non-tertiary” education), attainment was more common among men (15%) than women (8%).
  • The OECD average for completion of tertiary-type A/advanced research programmes for 25- to 64-year-olds was 23%, which compares with Canada’s figure of 27%. In Canada, tertiary-type A refers to bachelor and master’s degrees and other university degrees or certificates above a bachelor’s degree (but below a doctorate), and advanced research programmes comprises doctorates and post-doctoral programmes. The gender gap was less pronounced at this level of educational attainment, with figures of 28% for women and 26% for men.

A2 Upper secondary graduation

  • Canada’s upper secondary graduation rate was 83% in 2010. The OECD average was also 83%, and most OECD countries reported graduation rates of at least 80%. The upper secondary graduation rate corresponds to the probability that an individual will graduate from high school during his or her lifetime.
  • In Canada, graduates under 25 years of age represented 95% of all graduates in 2010, compared with 93% for the OECD overall.
  • Upper secondary graduation rates for females were higher than those for males in most provinces and territories, as well as in most of the OECD countries for which comparable data were available. In Canada, the rate for females was 87%; the rate for males, 80%.
  • In Canada in 2010, successful completion in public schools was 74%. This indicator measures the “on-time” graduation of the 2007/2008 cohort of Grade 10 students (3e secondaire in Quebec), an indication of the efficiency of the public school system. Among the provinces and territories, the proportion of students who completed their education within the expected time varied considerably, from 16% in Nunavut to 82% in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

A3 Labour market outcomes

  • In Canada and other OECD countries, employment prospects increase with educational attainment. In 2011, Canada’s employment rate for adults aged 25 to 64 who had not completed upper secondary education (high school) was 55%. In and throughout Canada, as well as in the OECD countries overall, the 2011 employment rates among the 25- to 64-year-old population were clearly highest—beyond 80%—among individuals who had a “tertiary education”; that is, a college or university credential.
  • Between 2000 and 2011, employment rates were consistently higher among individuals with a tertiary education compared with those who had not attained that level of education, both throughout Canada and the OECD countries overall.
  • In most OECD countries in 2011, the difference in employment rates between the sexes was less pronounced among graduates of tertiary-type A and advanced research programmes compared with the upper secondary graduates. In Canada, an 11-percentage-point difference was observed between the employment rates for men and women in the upper secondary graduation category: 78% for men compared with 67% for women. Among graduates of tertiary programs, both type B (college) and type A/advanced research programmes (university), the male-female differences narrowed to 7 and 5 percentage points, respectively.

Chapter B: Financial resources invested in education

B1 Expenditure per student

  • In Canada in 2009/2010, expenditure per student at the secondary level ($12,200) was slightly higher than that at the primary level ($11,496) (Canadian dollars). The difference in expenditure between these two levels of education is usually larger among other OECD countries.
  • In Canada at the pre-primary, primary and secondary level, the portion of expenditure per student allocated to core services represented 95% of the total expenditure per student. This is similar to the proportion spent on core services in the OECD countries overall: 94% for primary through postsecondary non-tertiary education. Expenditure on educational core services includes all spending directly related to education; i.e., on teachers, school buildings, teaching materials, books and administration of schools.
  • The total expenditure per student on university education in Canada averaged $32,409 (Canadian dollars). Spending was above the Canada-level average in Alberta (59% above), Saskatchewan (26%), Prince Edward Island (10%) and British Columbia (8%).

B2 Expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

  • With 6.7% of its GDP allocated to educational institutions in 2009, Canada devoted a slightly higher share of its wealth to education than the OECD countries overall (an average of 6.3%). The share of GDP devoted to educational institutions varies from one province or territory to another. The allocation of financial resources to educational institutions is a collective choice, made by government, business, and individual students and their families. The share of GDP is partially influenced by the size of the school-age population and enrolment in education, as well as relative wealth.
  • In 2009, 41.8% (2.8% of 6.7%) of the share of GDP that Canada invested in education was allocated to the tertiary sector. Among the OECD countries, Canada, along with the United States (38.4%) and Chile (37.5%), allocated the largest share of education spending to tertiary education.

B3 Distribution of expenditure on education

  • The proportions of education expenditure allocated to current spending in Canada in 2009 were: 92.0% for primary, secondary and postsecondary non-tertiary education, and 88.8% for tertiary. These figures are fairly similar to the average proportions reported by the OECD for its member countries: 91.3% and 90.3%, respectively. Current expenditure reflects spending on school resources that are used each year for the operation of schools.
  • For primary, secondary and postsecondary non-tertiary education, the compensation of staff (77.4%)—particularly teachers (62.5%)—accounted for the largest proportion of current expenditure in Canada in 2009, a situation mirrored in all other OECD countries. At the tertiary level in Canada, 64.7% of current expenditure was devoted to compensation of all staff; more than half of which (37.1%) was spent on compensation for teachers. In all provinces and territories, the proportion of current expenditure allocated to compensation of all staff employed in education was larger in the primary, secondary and postsecondary non-tertiary sector than in the tertiary sector.
  • In Canada, 11.2% of education expenditure for tertiary education was allocated to capital expenditure; the OECD average was 9.7%. For primary, secondary and postsecondary non-tertiary, the corresponding figures for Canada and the OECD were 8.0% and 8.7%, respectively. Capital expenditure reflects spending on assets that last longer than one year and includes spending on the construction, renovation and major repair of buildings.

Chapter C: Access to education, participation and progression

C1 International students

  • In Canada in 2010, over 100,000 international students were registered in tertiary programmes, and the vast majority of them (72.2%) were in tertiary-type A programmes. “International students” includes non-permanent residents, such as those with a study permit. It also includes those enrolled in a Canadian program from a Canadian institution that is not located in Canada (also known as “offshore students”) as well as non-Canadian students studying via the Internet.
  • The number of international students who were pursuing studies in tertiary programmes in Canada more than doubled between 2001 and 2010, rising by 10.4% a year on average, with five provinces (Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Alberta) reporting average annual growth rates that were higher than the Canada average.
  • In Canada, international students accounted for about one-fifth (21.8%) of the enrolment in advanced research programmes, a much higher proportion of enrolment than in tertiary-type A (7.2%) and tertiary-type B (6.4%) programmes.
  • Students from China represented the largest group of international students from an individual country of origin, accounting for 26.9% of all international students in Canada, followed by students from the United States (7.7%), France (7.4%), India (6.0%), and South Korea (4.4%). China also provided the highest proportions of international students to all provinces but Quebec and New Brunswick.

C2 Transitions to the labour market

  • In Canada in 2011, 43.7% of young adults aged 15 to 29 were still involved “in education”. The most recent international average for the OECD countries was 47.2%. The proportion of females (45.9%) was higher than that for males (41.5%). The proportion of “in education” 15- to 29-year-olds remained quite stable in Canada over the 2001-to-2011 period.
  • In 2011, 18.6% of 15- to 19-year-olds in Canada were no longer pursuing a formal education; the comparable OECD average is 14.4%. Many in this 15-to-19 age group were employed, and some could actually be high school graduates who had not engaged in any further education.
  • The total “not in education” portion of the 15- to 29-year-old population also includes those who are neither employed nor in education (or training), referred to as the “NEET” population. In 2011, 13.3% of Canada’s population aged 15 to 29 was neither employed nor in education, compared with the OECD average of 15.8%. In Canada and in the OECD overall, the highest proportion of individuals who were not in education and not in employment was in the 25-to-29 age group: 17.1%, which compares with the OECD’s 20.0%.

Chapter D: The learning environment and organization of schools

D1 Instruction time

  • In Canada in 2010/2011, the total compulsory instruction time in formal classroom settings was 8,282 hours, on average, between the ages of 6 and 14. By comparison, total compulsory instruction time for the OECD countries for which data were available was 7,488 hours, or 794 fewer hours than the average total compulsory instruction time in all public institutions in Canada during the 2010/2011 school year.
  • Total compulsory instruction time for students aged 6 to 14 varied by province and territory, ranging from 7,739 hours in New Brunswick to 9,117 hours in the Northwest Territories.

D2 Teachers’ salaries

  • In Canada, the starting salary for teachers in public elementary and secondary schools was close to $46,000 Canadian dollars in 2010/2011, ranging from $39,742 in Quebec to $68,828 in the Northwest Territories.
  • Although Canada and the OECD averages reveal similar relative differences between starting salaries and those at the top (ratios of 1.6 for Canada and the OECD at each level of education taught), Canada’s teachers reached the top of their salary scales much sooner than their OECD counterparts (11 years in Canada versus 24 years on average in the OECD countries).
  • In 2010/2011, teachers’ salaries in and throughout Canada were similar regardless of the level of education being taught. Overall in Canada, average starting salaries (presented in US dollars for international comparisons) were $35,394 for teachers in both primary and lower secondary institutions, and $35,536 for those in upper secondary institutions. The comparable OECD averages (US dollars) were all lower, and they also varied by level taught, at $28,854, $30,216 and $31,348, respectively.

D3 Teachers’ working time

  • In Canada, primary school teachers taught an average of 799 hours per year in 2010/2011, compared with the OECD average of 790 hours. Figures vary by province and territory, ranging from 738 hours in Quebec to 905 hours in Alberta.
  • Net annual teaching time was 743 hours at the lower secondary level (generally Grades 7 to 9) and 747 hours at the upper secondary level (generally Grades 10 to 12). These figures for Canada are higher than the averages for the OECD countries overall—34 hours higher at the lower secondary level and 83 hours at the upper secondary level.
  • On average in Canada, net teaching time represents about 60% of teachers’ total working time. It is similar for lower and upper secondary levels taught (60% and 61%), and higher at the primary level (65%). This ratio and the pattern across levels of education taught are similar to the average in OECD countries.
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