Education In Nova Scotia

Public Education in Nova Scotia is provided free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents aged 18 years and under. As with the rest of Canada, education is a Provincial responsibility to administer. Nova Scotia is a member of the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET), established in 2004. It comprises of the four Atlantic Provinces, their aim is to improve education in the Atlantic region by joint development of a wide variety of products and services. Nova Scotia offers an International Student Program for 13 to 18 year olds; they usually live with a host family during their studies.

For education in Nova Scotia, students are legally required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16 years, although most students continue until they are at least 18 years to receive a high school graduation.

It is extremely important that you find out when the registration period is to ensure that your kids get the places at the schools you want. The registration normally takes place several months before the year starts (I.E. register in Feb. for September). Contact the particular school to find out the precise details. There may well be an administration fee charged to register your child!

Publicly funded elementary and secondary schools are administered by Nova Scotia's seven Regional School Boards with the school year usually running from the beginning of September through to the end of June. However, there may be variations to this within different regional school boards. Most schools close down for the months of July and August as well as breaks at Christmas and Easter.

There are a number of different types of schooling options available for education in Nova Scotia. The choices are Public, French Immersion, French speaking and Private schools. Parents also have the option of home schooling their children. There are two languages of instruction available, English and French.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Primary (also known as Kindergarten) and elementary generally starts at the age of 5 years, although some school boards have different age cut off dates. The student will attend 5 days of either morning or afternoon classes. It is normally part of the school that your child will attend in Grade 1 and is good preparation for full time school.

This age or younger is a very good time to think about saving for your child's post secondary education. Fees for post secondary education are very expensive. There is a savings plan available in which the Federal Government will input a percentage of your contributions. These are called Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP).

Students continue at elementary school from Grade 1 (age 6) to Grade 6 (age 12), junior high from Grade 7 (age 13) to Grade 9 (age 15) and High School from Grade 10 (age 16) to Grade 12 (age 18).

Most students will continue with their education at high school to graduate. This is a necessity for post secondary education institutes and is also recognized by most employers.

Transfer From Abroad

Students who are coming to complete their education in Nova Scotia from a different school system should submit an official statement of previous standing, such as a report card, to the school they want to enroll in.

You should also have the previous school records and transcripts, copies of course outlines and content. After considering a number of factors including the students age, records and test results they will be placed in the appropriate grade. It will definitely be worth contacting any particular schools before you move to ensure you have everything you need. Even enquire about faxing documents to be sure they meet the requirements.

Post Secondary Education in Nova Scotia

There is a good variety of Post Secondary Education in Nova Scotia with plenty of high quality institutes to choose from. There are 11 Universities and a Province wide community college with 13 campuses. Halifax is home to six of the universities. There are also Private Career Colleges offering a good variety of programs.

Student Loans

As with all of Canada, the Post Secondary education in Nova Scotia is NOT free. Several years ago, the Canadian Government launched RESP's to help parents save for their children's future education needs. These are great if you start them early, but if your kids are about to start when you land it is too late. (see link above for more details).

The Federal (Canada Student Loan, CSL) and Provincial governments provide loans to supplement, not replace, the financial resources you are expected to contribute. The Nova Scotia Student Loans is a scheme that provides financial assistance to eligible post secondary students. The amount of assistance you receive is based on financial need.

There are a number of different factors that will qualify you for a loan, but you must be a resident of Nova Scotia, a Canadian citizen or Landed Immigrant and you must be enrolled or qualify to enroll as a full time post secondary student in an approved program at a designated school.

For your convenience, here are links to our other pages for education:

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. BC Post Secondary Education
  4. Manitoba
  5. New Brunswick
  1. Newfoundland and Labrador
  2. Nova Scotia
  3. Ontario
  4. Prince Edward Island
  5. Saskatchewan