Educational Choices

by | News, Parent Resources

Canada offers a wide range of educational choices. When selecting a school for their child, parents can choose from a variety of school systems: public, Catholic, private, charter, Francophone and French immersion. One of the key principles of Alberta’s Education system is educational choice. To ensure that parents are able to make the best choice for their child’s education, it is important to understand the aspects of the available options.

Public Schools

In Canada, the provinces must provide free education up to the end of high school for all citizens under the age of 20. In Alberta, this education is provided through public schools. According to Alberta Education,”public schools are operated by public school boards and overseen by the Government Of Alberta. Public schools teach theAlberta curriculum and may select optional programs according to the unique needs of their students and communities.” In Calgary,there are two public school systems: the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District. The Calgary Board of Education has over 200 schools throughout Calgary, servicing close to 100,000 students. CBE offers a wide variety of programs to enrich students’ lives and promote quality learning. (For more information,visit The second school board in Calgary is the Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District. They provide services to approximately 44,000students within 97 schools. This separate board provides a complete range of programs with a focus of the Catholic faith. (To learn more,visit

Private Schools

In Alberta, parents may prefer to have their child receive their education outside of the public system and choose the private school system. There are two types of private schools in Alberta: accredited private schools and registered private schools. Both can charge tuition and other fees as required.According to Alberta Education, accredited private schools are monitored by Alberta Education. They must follow the Alberta curriculum and employ certified teachers. Aswell, students at these private schools can earn credits towards a high school diploma.Accredited private schools may receive provincial funding if operated by a non-profit society or corporation. In addition, accreditednon-profit private schools receive the same funding for severe special needs children as public schools.Registered private schools are also monitored by Alberta Education. However, they do not have to offer the Alberta Education’s curriculum, nor do they have to employ certified teachers. In addition, these private schools cannot offer students credits towards a high school diploma. As well, the Government of Alberta does not fund registered private schools.

Charter Schools

According to the Canadian Charter Schools Centre, charter schools are autonomous public schools with a unique focus that sets them apart from other public schools.They are operated independently under atime-specific contract (charter) that stipulates the school’s mission, program, and goals. Charters are normally granted for 3-5 years; at the end of the term, the schools that are successful may renew their contract.Charter schools must teach the Alberta curriculum and hire certified teachers. As well,these schools do not charge tuition. Alberta Is the only province in Canada that offers charter public schools. Currently, there are 13 charter schools in Alberta; six of which are in Calgary.


SchoolsUnder the law of the Charter of Rights andFreedoms, Francophone education is offered to children whose parents’ first language isFrench. Francophone schools follow the Alberta Program of studies that has been developed in French for kindergarten to grade 12. All courses, except for English language arts, are offered entirely in French.

French Immersion Schools

In a French immersion program students become fluent in French, as well as in English.This program is intended for students whose first language is not French. Students usually start the immersion program in kindergarten or grade 1. Formal English instruction is started in grade 3. Students can also start a late immersion at grade 7. French Immersion schools follow the Alberta curriculum,and French is used as the language of instruction for many subject areas.