Data Check: Ontario’s PSE record is world class

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As more high school graduates opt for college or university education, Ontario’s attainment rate for higher education has risen from 44 per cent in 1999 to a 56 per cent in 2009, in the context of government forecasts that 70 per cent of jobs in the knowledge economy will require a postsecondary credential.

In 2009, about 63 per cent of Ontarians between the ages of 25 and 64 had attained postsecondary accreditation: 28 per cent with university degrees, 27 per cent with college diplomas, and seven per cent with trade certificates.

These rates are higher than both the Canadian average (50 per cent) and the OECD average (30 per cent). Ontario’s — and Canada’s– higher attainment rates are mostly owing to the number of people who have completed college; the OECD’s 10 per cent average college attainment is much lower than Ontario’s 27 per cent. But Ontario’s 28 per cent university attainment is also higher than the OECD’s 21 per cent average.

Because the rate of participation is rising more quickly elsewhere, the rate at which first-time university students are graduating is four percentage points higher in Ontario than the OECD. The OECD graduation rate for those with advanced research degrees (typically doctorates), however, is 1.5 per cent, compared to 1.2 per cent in Ontario.

Source: Statistics Canada, Education Indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program April 2011 (;
Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective 2011(; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education at a Glance 2011: OECD indicators (,3746,en_2649_37455_48634114_1_1_1_37455,00.html)

This article originally appeared in the OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week in your inbox, please subscribe.

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