TORONTO, June 25, 2013 /CNW/ - A new international report from OECD
identifies Canada as one of the most well-educated countries in the
world and offers compelling evidence for the value of postsecondary
education in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty and increasing
global competition for skilled labour.
Education at a Glance 2013, OECD's annual review of education systems around the world, offers a broad range of comparable national education indicators,
including indicators on student demographics, the human and financial
resources invested in education, the operation of education systems,
and the social and economic outcomes of learning.
This year's report once again highlights Canada's top-tier performance
in tertiary education attainment. Over 50 per cent of adult Canadians
hold a college diploma or university degree — the highest rate among
all OECD countries. By comparison, the OECD average for 2011 was only
32 per cent. Canada has the highest proportion of college graduates (25
per cent). Twenty-seven per cent of Canadians have university
qualifications, compared to an OECD average of only 23 per cent.
While Canada continues to lead in overall tertiary education attainment,
the rate of growth in the proportion of postsecondary graduates in many
other countries is outpacing that in Canada. Canada falls to third
place when considering only the younger cohort of adults (those between
the ages of 25 and 34) with a postsecondary credential.
"As Canadians, we are justifiably proud of our educational
accomplishments," said the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC and
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development for Nova Scotia.
"But the world is not standing still. We must continue to work to
ensure that an even greater number of our citizens benefit from
advanced education and training."
Over the past few years, data from Education at a Glance have shown just how valuable a tertiary-level qualification can be in
difficult economic times. Not only does a college diploma or university
degree offer greater lifetime earnings, it also provides a safety net
against unemployment. In Canada, the unemployment rate for people with
a college or university degree increased by only 0.9 per cent between
2008 and 2011, from an already low rate of 4.1 per cent to 5 per cent.
For those without an upper-secondary or a postsecondary non-tertiary
degree, unemployment went from 9.1 per cent to 11.7 per cent — a much
higher initial rate and a much greater degree of job loss over the same
period of time.
"A postsecondary education is an investment that clearly pays off, said
Minister Jennex. "And it's not just the individual learner who reaps
the benefits. Canada, like the rest of the world, is in need of a
highly skilled workforce. As more and more Canadians take the challenge
of higher learning, we become better equipped to respond to the demands
of the 21st century knowledge economy."
Tertiary education is also correlated to better health habits according
to OECD's new indicator on the social outcomes of education: those with
a college or university degree are significantly less likely to smoke
compared to those with only a below upper-secondary education; they are
also less likely to be obese. Only 16.5 per cent of Canadians with
tertiary education smoke, 16.6 are obese; among Canadians with below
upper-secondary education, 41 per cent smoke and 26.4 per cent are
Some highlights for Canada from the 2013 edition of Education at a Glance:
The combined public and private expenditure on education in Canada in
2009 as percentage of GDP was 6.6 per cent. In 2010, the OECD average
was 6.3 per cent, the European average was 5.9 per cent, and the United
States spent 7.3 per cent of GDP on education.
In all OECD countries, adults with tertiary education earn more than
adults with upper-secondary, who, in turn, earn more than adults with a
below upper-secondary education. In Canada, tertiary-educated adults
earn on average approximately 59 per cent more than those who have
below upper-secondary credentials.
Students from China continue to represent by far the largest group of
international students studying at Canadian institutions, accounting
for 24.7 per cent of the country's total international student
population, compared to 7.1 per cent from the United States, 6.8 per
cent from France, and 5.5 per cent from India.
Primary students in Canada had an average of 919 hours per year of total
instruction time in 2011, significantly higher than the OECD average of
791 hours per year. Canadian lower-secondary students had an average of
923 hours, just slightly above the OECD average of 907.
Canadian primary school teachers averaged 799 hours of net statutory
contact time with students, compared to an average of 790 hours across
OECD countries. Upper secondary school teachers in Canada have 747
hours of contact time with students, compared to an OECD average of 664
Additional highlights for Canada can be found at: http://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/300/EAG_2013_Canada_EN.pdf
Selected OECD data for Canada will be broken down by province and
territory in a companion report, Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2013 scheduled to be released in December 2013 by the Canadian Education
Statistics Council (CESC), a partnership between CMEC and Statistics
Canadians will receive additional information on education in Canada
tomorrow, June 26, when Statistics Canada releases education data from
the National Household Survey (NHS) which replaced the census in 2011.
Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of
education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and
international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive
jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more
information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.
The Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC) is a longstanding
partnership between CMEC and Statistics Canada. Its goal is to improve
the quality and comparability of Canadian education data and to provide
information that can inform policy development in education.
SOURCE: Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
For further information:
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259