By consistently performing well on college completion rates, Canada has established a sizable gap between its performance and those of its peer countries. Canada’s college completion rate increased from 19.9 per cent in 1998 to 24.2 per cent in 2010, garnering “A” grades each year, the only peer country to achieve this.
One reason for Canada’s high ranking on college completion is the unique role of colleges known as CEGEPs (collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel) in Canada's second-largest province, Quebec. CEGEP is a pre-university program offered after Grade 11 that replaces the extra year of high school provided in other Canadian provinces. As a two-year program, however, it also covers one year of community college. It is a prerequisite for university acceptance. CEGEP enrolment is around 150,000 per year. Between 1990 and 2006, college participation rates for those aged 17 to 19 were consistently above 35 per cent in Quebec, compared with only 10 per cent in the rest of Canada.
The CEGEP system was started in 1967 by Quebec’s provincial government. The goal was to make post-secondary education more accessible by preparing student to enter university or a technical profession. The government has also used CEGEP to encourage public-private partnerships in technology transfer. Many CEGEPs have set up “technology transfer centres” where applied research is carried out in a specific field in cooperation with industrial partners in key sectors of the Quebec economy.
Use the pull-down menu to compare Canada's high-school graduation rate with that of its peers.