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Elementary, intermediate, secondary, and post-secondary education in Canada is a provincial responsibility and there are many variations between the provinces. The federal government's responsibilities in education are limited to the Royal Military College of Canada, and funding the education of indigenous peoples.

In 2016, 8.5% of men and 5.4% of women aged 25 to 34 had less than a high school diploma (340,000 young Canadians). In many places, publicly funded high school courses are offered to the adult population. The ratio of high school graduates versus non diploma-holders is changing rapidly, partly due to changes in the labour market that require people to have a high school diploma and, in many cases, a university degree. Nonetheless, more than 54.0% of Canadians have a college or university degree, the highest rate in the world. The majority of schools, 67%, are co-educational.

Canada spends about 5.4% of its GDP on education. The country invests heavily in tertiary education (more than US$20,000 per student). Recent reports suggest that from 2006 the tuition fees of Canadian universities have increased by 40 percent. Since the adoption of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1982, education in both English and French has been available in most places across Canada (if the population of children speaking the minority language justifies it), although French Second Language education/French Immersion is available to anglophone students across Canada.

According to an announcement of Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Canada is introducing a new, fast-track system to let foreign students and graduates with Canadian work experience become permanent eligible residents in Canada.

Most schools have introduced one or more initiatives such as programs in Native studies, antiracism, Aboriginal cultures and crafts; visits by elders and other community members; and content in areas like indigenous languages, Aboriginal spirituality, indigenous knowledge of nature, and tours to indigenous heritage sites. Although these classes are offered, most appear to be limited by the area or region in which students reside. "The curriculum is designed to elicit development and quality of people's cognition through the guiding of accommodations of individuals to their natural environment and their changing social order"

Subjects that typically get assessed (i.e., language arts, mathematics, and science) assume greater importance than non-assessed subjects (i.e., music, visual arts, and physical education) or facets of the curriculum (i.e., reading and writing versus speaking and listening).

Some scholars view academics as a form of "soft power" helping to educate and to create positive attitudes, although there is criticism that educators are merely telling students what to think, instead of how to think for themselves, and using up a large proportion of classroom time in the process. Efforts to keep students happy and socially correct often come at the expense of academic achievement. Social promotion policies, grade inflation, lack of corrective feedback for students, teaching methods that slow the development of basic skills compared to past decades, reform mathematics, and the failure to objectively track student progress have also forced high schools and colleges to lower their academic standards.

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