Education Options

Education Options (government website)

Definitions of School and Program Types in Alberta


  • Provide programming to any eligible student living in the designated area
  • Teach the Alberta curriculum, and may offer optional programming to meet local demand (e.g. languages, sports, arts)
  • Must accept all resident students and all others if there is space and/or program availability


  • Primarily Catholic; constitutional right to minority religious education under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Operate under the same programming and accountability requirements as public schools, but offer a fully faith-based permeated curriculum and school environment


  • Can be public or separate
  • Offer first-language French education (distinct from French immersion) based on Charter rights

Charter (learn more)

  • Autonomous non-profit organizations that provide education based on charter with the Minister
  • Intended to provide education with a particular focus or teaching approach, or to meet the needs of a particular group generally not offered in the public system (e.g. STEM, English Language Learning, academically gifted programming, arts- focused programming, )

Private (learn more)

  • Include registered, accredited and accredited-funded
  • Accredited-funded programs are required to offer provincial programs of study, diploma exams,
  • Are permitted to charge tuition fees to parents

Home education

  • Educational programming provided by parents
  • Must be supervised by a school board (public or separate) or accredited private school operator

Alternative programs

  • Education program operated by either a public or separate school
  • Programs emphasize a particular language, culture, religion, subject matter or teaching
  • Not permitted to charge tuition, but may include non-instructional costs (i.e. field trips for sports teams)

Shared Responsibility Programs

  • A parent and school authority may agree to share responsibility for student’s education
  • Combines parent-directed and teacher-directed education through flexible programming
  • Teacher-directed instruction is delivered by Alberta certified teacher and follows Alberta programs of study
  • May be provided through online means

First Nation Band Operated School

  • Most First Nations students living on-reserve have the choice to attend either Provincial School Authorities or First Nation Band Operated schools
  • Funded by the federal government and are operated autonomously by their respective First Nation or First Nation School Authority. Band Operated Schools can follow Alberta Education curriculum in order to grant Alberta Education credentials
  • Alberta Education respects the jurisdiction of First Nations
  • Through Education Services Agreements (between school boards and First Nations) on-reserve students can attend provincial schools in accordance with the terms of the negotiated agreement. Off reserve students can attend a band operated school at the discretion of the First Nation