Education in Québec


Education in Québec

The Québec education system is governed by the "Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport" (Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports). It is administered at the local level by publicly elected French and English school boards. Teachers are represented by province-wide unions that negotiate province-wide working conditions with local boards and the provincial government.

Primary & Secondary education

Education begins at the age of 5 with kindergarten ("maternelle") and grades 1-6 as elementary school ("école primaire"). These are divided into Cycle I (premier cycle) for grades 1-2, Cycle II ("deuxieme cycle") for grades 3-4 and Cycle III ("troisieme cycle") for grades 5-6.

Secondary School ("école secondaire") is five years, called Secondary I-V (Sec I-V for short) or simply grades 7-11. This is also divided into two "Cycles" corresponding to junior high school grades 7-8 and senior grades 9-11. High school students who complete Secondary V obtain the governmental "Diplôme d'études secondaires" (DES). People are from 12 to 17 years old.

Language in schools

Quebec has publicly funded French and English schools.

Under the Charter of the French Language, passed in 1977, all students must attend French-language public schools except:

* children who have done most of their elementary or secondary studies in English elsewhere in Canada;
* children whose father or mother did most of his or her elementary studies in English anywhere in Canada; (You must have proof of this, which means if you are coming from another province in Canada, you must get either your elementary transcripts and/or your high school transcripts to prove that one of the parents has attended an English school in Canada or your child will be rejected)

and/or

* children of Canadian citizens (Canada Clause) whose brother or sister did or is doing his or her elementary or secondary studies in English anywhere in Canada; (proof of this will be needed if are coming from another province in Canada)
* temporary residents of Quebec;
* First Nation children;

who may attend publicly-funded English schools.

Schools not funded by the government (sometimes called Independent schools, e.g. Lower Canada College, as opposed to private schools which are subsidized in part) are open to all.

Since 2006, English is taught as a second language in French schools from Grade 1 onwards, and a few schools also offer English immersion programs for advanced students. English schools offer a wide range of programs that include French as a second language, French immersion, and fully bilingual programs that teach both English and French as first languages.

Religion in schools

Formerly, school boards were divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant (called "confessional schools"). The latter system was established through the British North America Act, 1867 (today the Constitution Act, 1867), which granted power over education to the provinces. Article 93 of the act made it unconstitutional for Quebec to change this system. Consequently, a constitutional amendment was required to operate the separation of the State and the Church in Quebec.

For more than a century before 1964 non-Catholic immigrants from outside Canada who settled in Quebec were not allowed to attend French Catholic schools. The Quebec Education Act of 1988 provided a change to linguistic school boards, a change that has not yet complete been fully implemented. In 1997, a unanimous vote by the National Assembly of Quebec allowed for Quebec to request that the Government of Canada exempt the province from Article 93 of the Constitution Act. This request was passed by the federal parliament, resulting in Royal Assent being granted to the Constitutional Amendment, 1997, (Québec).

Catholics maintain their rights to confessional schools in other Canadian provinces. The main public schools network offers the choice between moral or religious education while Catholics run their own separate schools.

When public schools were deconfessionalized in 2000, Catholic and Protestant religious education (along with nonreligious moral education) classes continued to be part of the curriculum. In order to prevent court challenges by other religious groups wanting specialist religious education in schools, the government invoked the notwithstanding clause, which expires after a maximum of 5 years. As of February 2005, the government of Premier Jean Charest hasn't made a final decision on whether or not to renew the clause. Any changes would take effect in the 2005/2006 school year.

Private schools

Quebec has the highest proportion of children going to private schools in North America. The phenomenon is not restricted to the well to do. Many middle class, lower middle class and even working class families scrimp and save to send their children to private schools. The government of Quebec gives a pro rata subsidy for each child to any private school which meets its standards and follows its prescriptions, reducing tuition costs to approximately 30% of non-subsidized private schools.

Most of the private schools are secondary institutions, though there are a few primary schools, most of them serving precise religious or cultural groups such as Armenian Orthodox Christians or certain Jewish faiths.

17% of the high school population of Quebec currently attends a private high school. The figure is even higher in urban centres such as Montreal, where 30% of high school students are in the private sector. A study released in August 2004 by the Quebec Ministry of Education revealed that, over the preceding five years, the private sector had grown by 12% while the public sector had shrunk 5.6%, with slightly steeper rate in the last year.

Private secondary schools usually select their students by having them go through their own scholastic exams and by making a study of the entire primary school record.

The Quebec public sector teachers' unions oppose any form of subsidy to private schools. They state that by selecting only the brightest and most capable students and rejecting children with learning difficulties, private schools leave a burden to the public sector. Private schools usually have teachers who are not unionized, or who belong to associations not affiliated with the main body of Quebec public sector teacher's unions. The debate over the subsidies has been going on for several decades.

Post-secondary education

CEGEPs

Most students continue to CEGEP (sometimes called 'college'), or "Collège d'enseignement général et professionel" (general and professional education college). These students can specialize in a number of different vocational or pre-university fields. The term of study is two years for pre-university and three years for most vocational diplomas. Students completing CEGEP earn the "Diplôme d'études collégiales". Like primary and secondary schools, both state-run and private CEGEPs exist.

The word CEGEP should legally be used to describe only the state-run post-secondary schools, where tuition is free, but in fact very little attention is paid to this distinction. The 26 private institutions which offer a post-secondary program recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education receive a pro rata subsidy for each of their 15,000 students. Unlike the state-run CEGEPs, the private post-secondary schools usually do not combine pre-university and vocational programs in one institution. About half offer pre-university and the other half offer vocational programs.

Universities

Primary school, secondary school, and CEGEP add up to 13 years of pre-university study, one more than other provinces. For this reason, most undergraduate university degrees in Quebec universities are only three years in length for Quebec students who have obtained a CEGEP diploma. Students from outside Quebec have this term supplemented by a freshman year at the beginning of their university career. University education is much like in other North American jurisdictions. In addition to formerly private institutions, the government of Quebec founded a network of universities in several Quebec cities, called the Université du Québec. All universities in the province have since become public in a similar fashion to other Canadian provinces.

Quebec subsidises post-secondary education and controls tuition fees, resulting in low student costs in university education. There are three levels of tuition: Quebec resident (lowest level), Out-of-province Canadian resident (tuition set to average Canadian tuition) and International tuition (highest). The Quebec resident tuition is only available to residents of Quebec, residents of jurisdictions that have bilateral agreements with the Quebec government, and to students enrolled in French literature or Quebec studies programme. [http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ens-sup/ens-univ/droits_scolarite-A.asp]

Montreal has four universities and has a higher percentage of university students in its population than all other major North American cities.

List of Quebec universities

French-language universities

*Université de Montréal
*Université du Québec


*École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS)
*Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC)
*Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
*Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)
*Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)
*Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)
*Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)

*Université Laval
*Université de Sherbrooke

English-language universities

*McGill University
*Concordia University
*Bishop's University

ee also

*Education in Montreal
*Education in Canada

External links

* [http://www.meq.gouv.qc.ca/GR-PUB/m_englis.htm Quebec Ministry of Education]
* [http://www.meq.gouv.qc.ca/rens/brochu/anglais/lang_inst.htm Government of Quebec - Language of instruction]
* [http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/ens-sup/ens-coll/formulaire_statut_resident_A.pdf Government of Quebec - Requirements for Quebec Tuition]
* [http://www.meq.gouv.qc.ca/rens/brochu/anglais/denomina.htm Government of Quebec - Denomination (confessional vs. linguistic school boards)]
* [http://www.meq.gouv.qc.ca/rens/brochu/anglais/history.htm History of Education in Quebec]
* [http://www.reseauetudiant.com/ Réseau Étudiant - Resources and services for the student community in the province of Quebec]


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