Jewish Day Schools in Province of Alberta, Canada, to Receive Government Funds

Jewish day schools in the province of Alberta, Western Canada, will receive funds from the Government, according to the terms of new regulations enacted, granting $100 for each full-time pupil enrolled in grades one to 12 inclusive, of a recognized private school. This makes Alberta the first province in Canada to give monetary aid to elementary day schools (other than those sponsored by the Catholic Church).

In recent years, Quebec has extended such aid but only on the secondary-school level. In Canada, the majority of Jewish day schools are organized on the elementary level, grades one to eight. The order-in-council setting up the new arrangements defines a private school as one providing elementary and/or secondary education, which has been in operation for a minimum of three years, has a minimum enrollment of 30 pupils, has employed two full-time teachers and is not operated for monetary gain.

There are at present three Jewish institutions in the province which stand to gain from the new regulations: the communal Talmud Torahs in Edmonton and Calgary and the Yiddish Peretz School in Calgary. Alberta’s Government is Social Credit, and represents the fundamentalist hue of what has been called Canada’s Bible Belt province.

In other provinces of Canada, such as Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec, there has been considerable controversy within the Jewish community on the advisability of pressing for such aid, with the Jewish community sharply divided on the issue. In Alberta, with a small Jewish community, the Jewish group played little, if any, role in the movement for such monetary grants.

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