Education in Québec

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The Quebec education system is governed by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports). It is administered at the local level by publicly elected French and English school boards. Teachers are represented by province-wide unions that negotiate province-wide working conditions with local boards and the provincial government.


Primary & Secondary education

Education begins at the age of 5 with kindergarten (maternelle) and grades 1-6 as elementary school (école primaire). These are divided into Cycle I (premier cycle) for grades 1-2, Cycle II (deuxieme cycle) for grades 3-4 and Cycle III (troisieme cycle) for grades 5-6.

Secondary School (école secondaire) is five years, called Secondary I-V (Sec I-V for short) or simply grades 7-11. Students are 12 to 17 years old. This is also divided into two "Cycles" corresponding to junior high school grades 7-8 and senior grades 9-11. High school students who complete Secondary V obtain the governmental Diplôme d'études secondaires (DES).

Language in schools

Quebec has publicly funded French and English schools.

Under the Charter of the French Language, passed in 1977, all students must attend French-language public schools except:

  • children who have done most of their elementary or secondary studies in English elsewhere in Canada;
  • children whose father or mother did most of his or her elementary studies in English anywhere in Canada; (You must have proof of this, which means if you are coming from another province in Canada, you must get either your elementary transcripts and/or your high school transcripts to prove that one of the parents has attended an English school in Canada or your child will be rejected)


  • children of Canadian citizens (Canada Clause) whose brother or sister did or is doing his or her elementary or secondary studies in English anywhere in Canada; (proof of this will be needed if are coming from another province in Canada)
  • temporary residents of Quebec;
  • First Nation children;

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