Located in North America, Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. It is the world's second largest country in geographic size, yet its population is over 32,805,000 - slightly less than that of California. In terms of its natural resources,
Canada is the world's second richest country on a per-capita basis, behind Australia.
Most of the population lives in the southern part of the country, and over 75 percent live in metropolitan areas. Among the largest cities are: Toronto, Ontario; Montréal, Québec; Vancouver, British Columbia; Ottawa, Ontario; Hull,
Québec; and Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada's indigenous population is referred to as the Indians or First Nations. In fact, Canada is an Iroquis word for "community." French and English are the country's official languages, reflecting the Canada's early colonial history. Since
the second half of the 18th century when the British ousted France from Canada, the country's main political and ethnic ties have been with the United Kingdom. Increased immigration from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries boosted Canada's
ethnic diversity, and since the 1970s, most immigrants have come from Asia.
Canada gained full independence in 1931, although it still is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Canada's official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom,
although its citizens directly elect legislatures at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.
Manufacturing and resource-related industries are the foundation of Canada's economy. Transportation equipment is the leading manufacturing industry. However, most Canadians work in service occupations.
Canada's educational system, along with the language of instruction - English or French - varies according to each province. There is no centralized education ministry. Instead, provincial governments administer education, although church-run schools
exist throughout the provinces.
Manitoba is the easternmost of Canada's three Prairie Provinces, with a population of 1,164,962. While the main language of instruction is English, education is conducted in French as well. The academic year is from September to June for elementary
and secondary education, and most postsecondary institutions go from September to May. Currently,the Department of Advanced Education and Training serves as the primary ministry for education
Elementary Education is four years in length, encompassing grades 1-4 (following Kindergarten), for those between the ages of 6 and 10.
Middle School Education is four years in length, encompassing grades 5-8, for those between the ages of 10 and 14.
Senior Secondary Education is four years in length, encompassing grades 9-12, for those between the ages of 14 and 18. The Manitoba High School Diploma or Manitoba Senior Years Technology Education Diploma is issued.
Higher Education is provided by universities, university colleges and community colleges. There are four public universities. The University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Brandon University offer instruction in English, while the College
Universities de Saint-Boniface offers instruction in French.
The university-level first stage is the General Bachelor's degree (minimum three years) or an Honours Bachelor's degree (four years).
The university-level second stage is the Master's degree, requiring one to two years of study after the four-year Bachelor's degree.
The university-level third stage is the Doctor's degree, requiring a minimum of five years after the four-year Bachelor's degree and a thesis.
Elementary and secondary school teachers must either complete an integrated five-year Bachelor's of Education degree or a three-year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree followed by a two-year degree program leading to a Bachelor of
Education. Technical and vocational teachers receive their education at Red River College, in a three-year program leading to a Diploma in Vocational Teacher Education. Graduates of the Diploma program may also move into the Bachelor of
Education program ultimately achieving that degree two years later.
Accreditation and administration of education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Higher Education Branch.