Education System in Canada : Framework, Academic Year & More

education system in canada

The Canadian government prioritizes education over many other aspects. This single-minded focus has worked to build an excellently equipped and globally renowned education system in Canada. Children, between four-five years, in the country majorly go to kindergarten for one to two years. 

School becomes compulsory afterward, with kids starting Grade 1 at six. Based on the province in question, schools may be up to Grades 11 or 12 in most cases. Children study under this system until they are 16. After that, they will get a choice about continuing in the higher education system in Canada across colleges or universities. 

Important Link : Best Education Systems in World 

The framework of the education system in Canada: 

The education system in Canada for immigrants is the same as it is for the citizens. Children have to get schooling till 16 years of age compulsorily. It is divided into four segments-: 

Pre-Elementary Level-

Kindergarten or the pre-elementary category is the first educational stage in the country. It is available for children between four and five years before commencing elementary education. It is compulsory in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, while it is optional in all other regions. It is offered across private, public, and federal schools in Canada and the first year is mostly free. Some provinces even provide extra years without any charges. Quebec, for instance, provides kindergarten education at zero costs for people from lower-income backgrounds or even for specially-abled kids. Children enjoy a more satisfying educational curriculum while learning basics like counting, art, reading, playing with peers, music, reading, etc. 

Primary Level-

Primary education is compulsory for kids in Canada, right from Grade 1 onwards. It is usually at six-seven years and goes on till Grade 6 (when the children are11-12 years old). There is one teacher who instructs them on all the subjects at this level. Special classes are also provided upon request. The pre-elementary stage has subjects like Mathematics, Reading, Science, History, English Language or French (in provinces like Quebec), Social Studies, Music, Art, and Physical Education. 

Secondary Level-

Secondary Canadian education comes with junior high school and high school sub-categories. The former is two years, comprising Grades 7 and 8. Students gradually adjust to changing teachers and classrooms while preparing for the advanced level of difficulty. The high school covers four years until Grade 11 or 12 or 16-18 years, depending upon the province and other factors. Students should compulsorily remain till 16 years of age in school. The law in New Brunswick and Ontario states that they should study until 18 when they get high-school diplomas. Quebec mandates secondary education till Grade 11, and this is followed by the CEGEP (publicly funded college, exclusive to Quebec) or the two-year pre-university curriculum. 

Post-Secondary Level-

After high-school graduation, Canadians can start applying to universities and colleges. Colleges in the country are majorly trade schools or community colleges which are smaller. Many Canadian students go to college as a means of preparation for university studies. They also get credits that are transferable to their university programs. Universities offer higher education to Canadians with diverse subjects, courses and academic degrees on offer. The structure is similar to the US, beginning with a UG degree, followed by a postgraduate course, and culminating with a PhD qualification. In the case of public colleges and universities, they receive provincial government sponsorship. The remainder is covered by research grants, federal government sponsorship and nominal tuition fees from students. 

Country-Wise Education Systems

Read More: 

Institution Types in Canada:


Students may apply for their postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates along with doctorates and professional degrees at Canadian universities. 

University Colleges-

Various types of university colleges offer programs such as university transfer courses and diplomas. 

Technical and Career Colleges-

Numerous diplomas and certificate courses are available for those interested in pursuing technical education. 

Community Colleges-

Students may obtain diplomas, certificates, undergraduate degrees, associate degrees, and postgraduate diplomas. 

Cooperative Education-

Cooperative education is disseminated via a novel platform that combines classroom teaching and practical assignments. It ensures structured and fulfilling learning experiences for children, offering a great opportunity for international students. 50% of the program also covers work experience, and students should have work permits. 

Recommended Read: Canada Provincial Nominee Program | Québec Arrima Portal

Academic Year in Canada: 

The key intake month is September in Canada, where the highest number of admissions usually take place. Most universities and colleges provide September and January intake options. Students may also apply for admission in the summer intake that begins around April or May. 

Pedagogy Aspects: 

Analysis, research, presentations, active engagement and participation, laboratory tests and assignments are core components of education in Canada. Classes are a fusion of tutorials, lectures, laboratory sessions, and more. 

Student strength in these classes is usually around 30-200 children. While a higher number of students can be found at classes or lectures, tutorials usually take place with smaller student groups for deep and intensive learning and understanding of core concepts. Universities in Canada usually emphasize offering more holistic and fulfilling experiences for students, where they get numerous opportunities to enhance their career and academic prospects. 

Read More: Student Direct Stream

Tuition Costs: 

As compared to Australia, the UK, and New Zealand, Canada is one country that has the lowest possible tuition costs for international students. Yearly tuition fees are usually between CAD 7,000-29,000 or INR 4.10-17 lakhs on average. However, prices may vary, depending on several factors like the location, preferred lifestyle of the student, and their chosen educational program. 

Read More: Visitor Visa in Canada

Financial Support: 

Financial support is readily available for international students who are applying to study at universities in Canada. They can benefit from grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, bursaries, etc. The amount of the scholarship and its nature/type will differ across multiple educational courses and institutions. Since obtaining a scholarship is a highly competitive procedure, aspirants should begin this process approximately eight or twelve months before the commencement of the chosen intake. 

For Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students may avail themselves of provincial government scholarships along with those based on merit. Depending on their specific needs and requirements, they can also apply for bursaries and grants at their colleges. They may also apply for waivers on tuition fees, Commonwealth scholarship programs, and organizational or private scholarship options. 

For Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate students can apply for the provincial government, Commonwealth and organizational/private scholarships. Some added choices include merit-based scholarships, fellowships, research associateships, and teaching assistantships, to name a few. 

Important Resources to Read About Canada:

Alternative Education in Canada:

There are many other types of Canadian education that you should know a little more about: 

Vocational Schools-

Students can learn specific professions or trades at vocational or technical schools. These schools are present throughout the country and recently require students to have high school diplomas at least. Earlier, this requirement was not there. Vocational schools help students learn a specific trade or profession while getting invaluable real-life experience under qualified professional supervisors. 

Private Schools-

The government does not fund these. They may charge higher fees for imparting education to children. It depends on the guardians and children as to whether they will invest in private schooling or not. Some parents often decide on private schools for their wards since they feel that specialized attention is required. For example, those unwilling to study lessons in French in Quebec and with a handsome budget may select a private school instead. 

Religious Schools-

Those sending their children to these Canadian institutions usually choose private organizations or Catholic schools. Their lessons adhere to the regular curriculum along with spiritual lessons. 

Recommended Read: NOC Code Canada

Standard Systems & Provinces: 

The compulsory education age will vary across provinces in the country. The youngest age for mandatory education is five, while the maximum age is up to seven in Manitoba. These are the ages when children necessarily have to attend school. The final year till which the students need to attend school is 16. However, some provinces need learners to remain in school till they are 18. Some of these provinces include Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. 

The educational system has a standard procedure throughout a majority of provinces in Canada. However, Quebec is a little different. Students graduate from high schools in Quebec at Grade 11, unlike the Grade 12 requirement in most parts of Canada. They continue with their education after that at CEGEP, another institution for higher education. It is a program of two years where students get an opportunity to explore and examine future career opportunities while preparing to transition into university learning. English and French are Canada’s official languages. International students can study in either of the two languages, with most schools offering both of these options. 

English is the major school language throughout Canada, although provinces like Quebec emphasize lessons in French. Students here will study completely in French until they finish high school. Canadian students in Quebec may learn English only when they meet special conditions. This rule also applies to those students who will be in Quebec for a limited duration as well. All immigrants and new citizens have to attend their lessons in French. If they wish to learn English, they can opt for private schooling instead, although it is costlier. 

Canada has a sizable number of migrant pupils throughout schools, and more than 1/3rd of young adults in the country hail from immigrant households. Studies have found that immigrants usually integrate swifter into the new communities while attaining as much success and progress as their native peers. 

Recommended Reads:

Equal Educational Opportunities: 

Canada gives all its students fair and equal opportunities to access training and education, irrespective of all other factors. Canada has maintained a system where students have negligible differences. Students are hailing from affluent local households, while some come from minority communities, and some are immigrants. These sections of society are not as disadvantaged in Canada as in many other nations. Some people feel that higher immigration may potentially impact student success in the country. 

However, a majority feels that they are the reason behind future progress. These students come from households with an innate desire to progress swiftly, and they have high expectations. 

Read More: Educational Credential Assessment Canada

Free Education and Healthcare in Canada:

Basic public learning is free of cost for those studying till Grade 11 or Grade 12, depending upon the province where you are present. International students are, however, required to pay the complete fees. 

Many educational institutions are subsidized, enabling students of diverse backgrounds to get equal opportunities for pursuing higher education. The Canadian government is already working on expanding this educational blueprint while bringing in new opportunities for university education, as far as young children are concerned. 

Canada has a health insurance network that gets public funding, i.e., the money paid by taxpayers will go into establishing this healthcare benefit. Every province has its dedicated healthcare plan along with other regulations. 

However, the best part is that Canadians will continue getting basic medical facilities without paying anything. Additional health issues beyond the basics may have to be paid for in some cases. Employers also offer coverage for these costs in some scenarios. Canada takes good care of all citizens concerning medical needs and provides nurseries and daycare facilities to families.

More Resources to Read About Canada:

Start Your Study Abroad
Journey Now.

✓ Save upto 30Lakh ✓ No IELTS required
✓End to end Visa/Application support

Start Your Study Abroad Journey Now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like