Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2012

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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 presents 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 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). The international context provided by the report supports the mission of CESC to "create and commit to comprehensive and long-term strategies, plans, and programs to collect, analyze, and disseminate nationally and internationally policy-relevant and comparable statistical information."

A set of 11 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 be based on policy-relevant information needs and 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. The information presented in indicators should be interpreted cautiously, however, and indicators in and of themselves should not be viewed as providing a precise interpretation of past events, a clear judgement of present conditions, or specific policy remedies for problems that may be identified. Indicators provide the basis for important new understandings about how education systems are functioning overall and often lead to more detailed research to better explain observed phenomena or trends. They also 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, upper secondary graduation rates, labour market outcomes, expenditure on education, international students, transitions to the labour market, and the organization of learning environments at the elementary and secondary levels—for Canada, and for its provinces/territories. The main development in the production of this year's report is the addition of a new indicator on teachers' working time. Some additional information has also been added to the following indicators: educational attainment (more content for this indicator is presented by sex), international students (new information on region of origin and country of citizenship), and transitions to the labour market (this year's focus is on individuals who are neither employed nor in education or training).

The intention of this report 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 could 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 11 indicators appear at the beginning of this report, and complete indicator texts are presented under four general themes: the output of educational institutions and the impact of learning (Indicators A1 through A3); financial resources invested in education (B1 through B3); access to education, participation and progression (C1 and C2); and the learning environment and organization of schools (D1 through D3). The tables for all of these indicators follow the 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, 2012 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

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