SOURCE: The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

June 27, 2017 05:00 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: Independent school enrolment up in Alberta as share of students in public schools drops

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - June 27, 2017) - Enrolment at independent schools in Alberta increased nearly 60 per cent over a 15-year period, while at the same time, the share of students attending public schools declined, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"For their children's education, parents in Alberta are increasingly choosing options outside the public school system," said Angela MacLeod, a policy analyst with the Fraser Institute's Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education and co-author of Where Our Students are Educated: Measuring Student Enrolment in Canada, 2017.

The study finds that as a share of all K-12 students, enrolment in independent schools increased in all provinces and decreased for public schools everywhere from 2000/01 to 2014/15, the most recent year of available comparable data.

In Alberta, the number of independent school students rose by 59.0 per cent to 29,400 students in 2014/15. As a share of all students in the province, independent school enrolment increased from 3.2 per cent to 4.4 per cent during the 15-year period.

And over the same time, the total number of students enrolled in public schools declined in every province except Alberta, which experienced an increase of about 75,000 students.

But crucially, Alberta is the only province where the population of school-aged children increased over that time. In fact, adjusting for the population increase, as a share of total enrolment in the province, public school enrolment actually declined from nearly 96 per cent to 94 per cent since 2000/01.

Alberta-along with the other three western provinces and Quebec-partially fund the operating costs of independent schools.

"While education is funded and delivered differently across the provinces, the evidence is clear-parents in Alberta are increasingly looking to independent schools for more choice in how their children are educated," MacLeod said.


Angela MacLeod, Policy Analyst, Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education

Fraser Institute

Deani Van Pelt, Senior Fellow

Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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