Elementry & Secondary Education (K-12)
The systems of education in Canada are comprehensive and recognized internationally for their high quality. They are understood as “systems” of education because each province and territory has exclusive responsibility for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education within its borders. There is no national department of education; however, there are national mechanisms to facilitate recognition and transferability of course credits and credentials. All school boards across Canada offer educational programs for children aged five to 17–18 years old. The levels range from Kindergarten to grade 11 (in Quebec) or grade 12. However, school structures and grade groupings vary throughout Canada’s provinces:
- Elementary schools instruct students from kindergarten or grade 1 to grade 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8.
- Middle schools typically enroll students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8; however, the specific grades offered may vary by school and region.
- Junior high schools include grades 7, 8, and sometimes 9, offering a transition for students from elementary to high school.
- Secondary schools (high schools) begin with grade 8, 9, or 10 to 12, except for Quebec, where high school includes grades 7 to 11. Where offered, students may enroll in the International Baccalaureate Program or take Advanced Placement (AP) courses. It is also becoming increasingly popular for public schools to offer elite athletic and arts academy programs. The typical school day includes five to six hours of class time, with the exception of kindergarten, which is half-day in some regions. The school year runs from September to June although some schools also offer a program year-round.