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Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2010


The primary objectives of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program (PCEIP) are to develop and maintain a set of statistics that provide information about education and learning in Canada and to support evidence-based policy making. PCEIP has been doing this since publishing its first set of education indicators for Canada and its jurisdictions in 1996. Then in September 2009, a set of international indicators was introduced in the first edition of Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective. Each year, this PCEIP series will present indicators for Canada and its provinces/territories, placing them in a broader international context. The report has been designed to complement and expand upon the information for Canada that is provided annually to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for publication in its Education at a Glance (EAG) report. The relatively new PCEIP report, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, was developed in response to a request from the provinces and territories via the Strategic Management Committee of the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC).

A set of 10 international indicators is presented in this year’s Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective. But what exactly is an indicator? To be developed as an indicator, an educational statistic must take its meaning from comparisons between different countries or jurisdictions, over time or in relation to commonly understood and defined standards. Although such statistics cannot reveal all, they do convey a good deal of information about education systems by reporting on the condition of certain key features. Indicators provide a way of gauging performance and progress, which may signal improvements or reveal problems. They cannot provide a precise interpretation of past events, offer clear judgement about present conditions, or point to specific policy remedies for problems that may be identified. However, indicators can provide the basis for important new understandings about how education systems are functioning overall. Indicators serve as tools to aid ongoing dialogues about education systems that will, in turn, make substantial contributions to education policy and planning.

This year’s set of indicators captures information on educational attainment, graduation rates at the upper secondary and postsecondary levels, labour market outcomes, the economic benefits of education, expenditures on education, international students, transitions to the labour market, and participation in adult learning—for Canada, and its provinces/territories. The intention is to allow Canada and its jurisdictions to be compared in an international context; that is, among other OECD countries. Data were taken from the sources cited and represent the most recent data that can be used to arrive at comparable international figures. As all definitions, categories and methodologies align with those of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to allow standardized and comparable statistics, the resulting figures may differ somewhat from similar numbers produced by the provinces and territories themselves. This report’s Notes to readers section includes explanations and descriptions of the relevant ISCED categories, and outlines how the Statistics Canada data used are aligned with this international system.

Highlights for all 10 indicators appear at the beginning of this report, and complete indicator texts are presented under three general themes: the output of educational institutions and the impact of learning (Indicators A1 through A5); financial resources invested in education (B1 and B2); and access to education, participation and progression (C1 through C3). The tables for all of these indicators follow these chapters, and the report concludes with a list of Committees and organizations, which outlines the many individuals who have played important roles in producing and reviewing this report.

Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2010 is published by the Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC) as part of its broader endeavour, the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program (PCEIP). The CESC is a partnership between the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and Statistics Canada. The CESC was established in 1989 to improve the quality and comparability of Canadian education data and to provide information that can inform policy development in education.

Sylvie Michaud
Director General
Education, Labour and Income Statistics
Statistics Canada

Andrew Parkin
Director General
Council of Ministers of Education,Canada