The Quebec education system comprises four levels: preschool and elementary education, secondary education (high school, adult academic and vocational training), college education (pre-university and technical programs) and university education. Approximately 1.8 million people attend the education system either part-time or full-time.

Elementary & Secondary Education

Elementary school education begins in Kindergarten at the age of 5 and covers a period of seven or eight years (age 5 to 12). Some elementary schools may also offer Pre-Kindergarten which begins at age 4. The elementary program is divided into four Cycles with two grade levels in each Cycle:




Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten
Grade 1, Grade 2
Grade 3, Grade 4
Grade 5, Grade 6

Secondary school education covers a 5 year period (age 12 to 17) and begins in Secondary I (grade 7).  The secondary program is divided into two cycles:




Secondary I and II (Grades 7,8)
Secondary III to V (Grades 9,10,11)

Successful completion of the general secondary program is recognized by the Diplôme d’études secondaires (DES - Diploma of Secondary Studies). The DES gives access to the first level of higher education, which is provided by a type of institution unique to Québec, i.e. the Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (or CEGEP).

Adult & Vocational Education

Individuals aged 16 or older may be eligible for general education courses such as language classes, basic or advanced secondary level courses.

Vocational education programs prepare adult students to enter the workforce by teaching a trade. Such training is recognized by the Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP - Diploma of Vocational Studies).

The Role of the School Board

School boards are local democratic institutions that oversee preschool, elementary, secondary, adult academic and vocational training for both youth and adults on their assigned territory. Each school board in Quebec is governed by a council of commissioners all of whom are publicly elected through general elections which take place every four years.

Along with educating the population, their task also involves offering a variety of services to the community. They carry out a mission of prime importance, one which lies at the very heart of any community’s development.

There are a total of nine English public school boards in Quebec. Other boards in the greater Montreal area are; Lester B. Pearson School Board (West Island), Riverside School Board (South Shore) and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (Laval).  For a full list of Anglophone school boards in Quebec, please visit the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) website.

The Role of the Ministry

The Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (MEES) is a ministry under the Provincial government whose mandate is to implement the provisions of the Education Act which governs the rights and obligations of students, teachers, schools and school boards in Quebec.

The MEES is the author of the Quebec Education Program (QEP) that all elementary and secondary schools use to provide an active and successful learning environment for our students.  The QEP is a tool that teachers use every day to carry out their tasks. It is also an essential guide for school administration, staff and governing boards.