Preschool, elementary and secondary education
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Preschool, elementary and secondary education

In Québec, the law requires children to attend an educational institution until the end of the school year during which they turn 16 years of age or obtain a diploma issued by the Minister.

Preschool education

Preschool education (kindergarten) prepares children for elementary school. It provides them with a framework that promotes personal development, gradually introduces them to a stimulating learning environment and enables them to acquire skills that will contribute to their school success. While kindergarten is not mandatory, the vast majority of eligible children attend.

Elementary education

Whether they have attended kindergarten or not, at the age of 6 children must be enrolled in elementary school. Children 5 years of age will be enrolled provided they turn six before October 1 of their first school year. Elementary education consists of six years divided into three cycles of two years.

Services are also available for students with learning difficulties.


The Québec school system encourages parents to participate actively in their children’s education by becoming involved in:

  • the school’s governing board;
  • the school’s parent participation committee;
  • the school board’s parents committee;
  • the school board’s advisory committee for children with a disability, adjustment difficulties or learning disabilities;
  • the advisory committee on school transportation.


Secondary education

After six years of elementary education, students usually continue on to secondary or high school.

General studies

Successful completion of secondary studies, which last five years, leads to a Secondary School Diploma (SSD) and opens the door to higher education. The first cycle of secondary education, which covers the first three years, focuses on general studies. The second cycle allows students to continue, for a period of two years, their general studies while providing them with the opportunity to explore, through optional courses, various subject areas leading to collegial studies or vocational studies to train them to practice a trade.

Vocational studies

Vocational education programs lead to the practice of a skilled or semi-skilled trade. These programs lead to a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS), an Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS), or an Attestation of Vocational Education (AVE).

Entrance requirements are not the same for all vocational training programs and their duration varies from one to two years, depending on the program.


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Last modification : 2018-02-28
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