Canadians are among the most educated people in the world, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. In 2015, 90 percent of people in Canada aged 25 to 64 had at least completed high school, and 66 percent had obtained a post-secondary educational credential. Both of these statistics are considerably above the OECD averages of 78 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Indeed, Canada came joint fifth worldwide — tying with the United States for first among English-speaking countries — according to these key performance indicators for educational attainment.
Statistics Canada emphasizes that ‘higher levels of education are generally linked to improved employment prospects,’ and the figures support this. The employment rate among adults aged 25 to 64 who had not completed high school was 55 percent in 2015, compared to 82 percent for adults who had completed a college or university degree or diploma.
Canada increases investment in education
The average percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on education among OECD countries annually is 5.2 percent. However, Canada spends 6 percent of its GDP on education, an increase of 1.4 percent since 2008. Over the period 2004 to 2014, government spending on education in public schools increased 53 percent, or more than 5.3 percent per year. Consequently, Canada has increased its spending on education at a higher rate than inflation.
Independent research organization the Fraser Institute found that from the academic year 2004-2005 to 2013-2014, government spending on school education (grades 1 through 12) increased by $12.7 billion more than was required to account for enrollment and price changes. According to the Fraser Institute, ‘Canada as a whole (including the three territories) recorded a 47.2% increase in per-student spending in public schools between 2004-05 and 2013-14—from $8,440 in 2004-05 to $12,427 in 2013-14.’
Students are seeing the results
The investment is certainly paying off — Canada’s students show impressive levels of educational mobility. The country came second worldwide for the proportion of its population achieving a higher level of education than their parents. This statistic becomes even more impressive in reference to Canadians with parents born outside Canada, who had completed high school but no post-secondary qualification. Almost two-thirds of these students attained a college or university qualification, compared to less than half of those students whose parents were born in Canada. The overall OECD trend shifts the other way: students whose foreign-born parents had not completed a post-secondary qualification are less likely to pursue higher education than students with native-born parents in the same situation.
In addition, the percentage of people in Canada aged 15 to 29 who were not in education, employment, or training in 2015 was lower than the OECD average.
This latest data from Statistics Canada follows soon after a major global education survey on secondary education worldwide, in which Canada came fourth worldwide for the quality of its education. Read more about Canada’s performance in the OECD Program for International Student Assessment report.
To learn more about your options for studying in Canada, click here. There is also a range of tools and resources available for prospective students in Canada, including Canada School Search and School Match Canada.
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