The essential information about education in PEI

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Education in PEI is provided free to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents aged 18 years and under.
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As with the rest of Canada, education is a Provincial responsibility to administer. PEI is a member of the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET), established in 2004. CAMET 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.

1. General Information

In Canada, public schools are governed by school boards. There are two public school offices in Prince Edward Island:

  • Public Schools Branch (governs English language public schools)
  • French Language School Board (La Commission scolaire de langue française)

The Public Schools Branch and La Commission scolaire de langue francaise operate 62 schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 on PEI with a total school population of approximately 20,000.

There are also private schools in PEI. They are not governed by the public school boards or funded by public funds.

Some parents choose to ‘home educate’ their children — children stay at home and their parents (both or one of them) act as teachers. If this is their choice, parents must indicate their intention and submit their education plan to the Department of Education.

See more Prince Edward Island program

2. PEI Public Education School Levels

For education in PEI, students are legally required to attend school between the ages of 7 and 16 years, although most students continue until they are at least 18 years to receive a high school graduation.

  • Kindergarten (mandatory pre-school education; children who are at least 5 years of age, or will turn 5 by December 31st of the school year can be enrolled)
  • Elementary school (grades 1 – 6)
  • Intermediate school (also called ‘junior high school’, grades 7 – 9)
  • High school (grades 10 – 12)

Public education is free for all permanent residents in PEI, from kindergarten to grade 12. Colleges and universities do receive some public funds, but they are not free.

It is important to remember that, because of the length of time it takes to learn a new language, some newcomer students may not be able to graduate by the age of seventeen or eighteen like some of their Canadian-born peers. Much depends on each student’s level of English or grade level at the time of arrival in Canada.

Since 2010, Colonel Gray High School and Charlottetown Rural High School offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. This program provides an internationally accepted curriculum recognized by many universities worldwide.

If your child is doing well in school, above average, consider enrolling them in the IB program, as it may provide for more and better education and career opportunities in the future.

3. Elementary, Secondary and Post- Secondary

Prince Edward Islands Kindergarten and elementary schooling generally starts at the age of 5 years. Although some school boards do have different age cut off dates. The student will attend 5 days of either morning or afternoon classes. It is good preparation for full time school.


Children usually enter kindergarten at age 5. Elementary school generally includes grades 1 through 6 in regions that then have 2 years of middle school or junior high school, and in areas without these, elementary school goes up to grade 8.


Secondary school- usually called high school – encompasses grades 9 through 12. In regions without middle school and junior high, it also includes grades 7 and 8. Most students will continue with their education in PEI at high school to receive a high school graduation certificate. This is a necessity for post secondary education institutes and is also recognized by most employers.

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Post- secondary

The province only has one university, two colleges and the Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard that offers French post-secondary education. However, there are about 20 private training schools for individuals who opt for post-secondary vocational training that will prepare them for future employment. These schools are provincially regulated and registered under the Private Training School Act.

PEI students who are unable to attend college or university may also enroll in distance or open learning format programs that Holland College and UPEI offer. Moreover, Eastern College has also expanded its programs in PEI and built an extension in Charlottetown. There are also some offshore colleges and universities that offer online programs for potential students in PEI.

* University of Prince Edward Island

The University of Prince Edward Island was founded in 1969 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. UPEI has approximately 4,600 students. Over 4,270 are enrolled in undergraduate programs, and 324 study in post-graduate programs. English is the primary language of instruction used at UPEI. Baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral level programs are available at the school.

The following are the faculties and departments at UPEI.

  • School of Business
  • School of Nursing
  • Faculty of Arts
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Office of Graduate Studies
  • Centre for Lifelong Learning

Important: the above uniRank Tuition Range Matrix does not include room, board or other external costs; tuition may vary by areas of study, degree level, student nationality or residence and other criteria. Please contact the appropriate University of Prince Edward Island‘s office for detailed information on yearly tuitions which apply to your specific situation and study interest; the above uniRank Tuition Range Matrix is indicative only and may not be up-to-date or complete.

* Holland College

Holland College was founded in 1969. There are about 3,300 students enrolled at Holland College in PEI and programs in China. In addition, a total of 5,200 students are taking continuing education and adult education courses at the college. However, about 30 percent of them are from off-island. Eligible students may take advantage of the scholarships and bursaries available. Potential students may choose from more than 65 full time programs and other short courses that include the following: Programs in Business, Computer Studies, Culinary Arts, Applied Sciences, Engineering Technology, Health and Community Services, Marine Training, Media and Communications, Policing / Law Enforcement, Sports and Leisure, and Tourism​.

* Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard

Collège Acadie l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard provides Prince Edward Island francophones with access to training programs and adult education. The college offers French training for professional development, leadership, literacy and personal interest.

* Online Colleges and Universities Accepting Students from PEI

Some off-island colleges and universities also offer their programs for students in Prince Edward Island through online education.

* Language programs

Language programs ( English or French as a second language) are offered at middle school, high school, colleges, universities and private language schools throughout Canada.

See more: Frequently Asked Question about PEI provincial nominee program