What was education like in Canada in the 1920s and 30s? Were many children going to high school, college or university?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Education was considered a priority by a large number of parents and they tried to send their children to the school as much as possible (after their other duties permitted). The desire for education was much stronger in British Canada (British Columbia) as compared to French Canada (Quebec), due to the higher economic value of child labor. Compulsory attendance legislation was passed in the late 19th century (except for Quebec) and children were rounded up for schooling. Some parents had concerns, but primarily related to taxes and costs, not to educating children. In some areas, religious groups had to be pacified, but overall the atmosphere was very conducive to education in the early 20th century. 

The main problem was the lack of resources, most importantly experienced school teachers; large numbers of students had to share a single teacher. Urban schools were somewhat better equipped than rural schools.

Yet, the desire for education was spreading across Canada. In 1920, 22,000 undergraduates and 383 graduate students were enrolled in Canadian universities. These numbers jumped to 28,000 and 1,010, respectively, by the year 1929. Enrollment of women was low and the overall enrollment (as a fraction of the population of women 18-22 years of age) was very low. But, the trend was positive and enrollments were increasing rapidly. 

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