Private Schools in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Private and independent schools vary greatly across
the prairies. There is everything from small rural faith-based
schools to an academy in the Canadian Rockies geared
to elite athletes seeking adventures in snowboarding
and backcountry skiing. There are a multitude of choices
along the continuum, whether parents are seeking enriched
academics, religious instruction or other alternative
There is also diversity as far as the guidelines and
regulations that impact private and independent schools
in these provinces.
Private schools in Alberta have been officially recognized
since 1946 and have received some form of public funding
since 1967. About 25,000 students attend private and
independent schools in Alberta or about 4.6 per cent of
the province's students (According to Measuring Choice and Competition in Canadian Education, a report released by the Fraser Institute in February, 2014). The majority of students enrolled
in private and independent schools in Alberta attend
a denominational school. Seventy per cent go to religious
schools, including Hebrew, Mennonite, Muslim, Christian
and various other denominations. The other 30 per cent
of students in Alberta's private and independent schools
are enrolled in programs that focus on enriched academics
or alternative programs, including First Nations, Montessori,
Waldorf or those catering to students with special needs.
Alberta's Department of Education website states that
it "recognizes that parents have a choice as to
how and where education is provided to their children".
To ensure students have access to a certain level of
instruction, private and independent schools receiving
provincial grants in Alberta must meet provincial curriculum
guidelines and other requirements. Alberta's accredited
private and independent schools receive 60 per cent
of the basic instruction per-pupil grant given to public
and separate schools. Extra funding is also available
to them for special needs students, materials and transportation
costs. The vast majority of private and independents
schools operating in Alberta have provincial accreditation.
In Saskatchewan, the provincial government provides partial funding, as of the 2011-12 school year. In order to receive funding, independent schools must meet certain criteria: follow provincial curriculum and policies, employ only certified teachers, and take part in student assessments and inspections (among other conditions). Meeting these criteria entitles schools to receive half of the per-student average provincial funding. Read the announcement as covered on our blog: Saskatchewan announces private school funding.
Both funded and non-funded independent schools operate
in Manitoba. According to Measuring Choice and Competition in Canadian Education, published by the Fraser Institute in February, 2014, enrollment in Manitoba private schools is approximately 7.4% of the total student population.
To receive funding, schools must meet the
provincial standard curriculum and hire Manitoba certified
teachers. Funded independent schools in Manitoba receive
60 per cent of the basic public school per-pupil grant.
Manitoba private and independent schools classified
as non-funded still receive an annual grant of $50 per
student annually for textbooks.
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