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Alberta is the most populous and fastest growing of Canada's three prairie provinces. It covers about the same land area as France or Texas, and had a population of 3.7 million in 2009.

The capital city of Alberta is Edmonton, located just south of the centre of the province.



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Alberta is located in the west part of Canada, bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the US state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single US state (the others being New Brunswick and Yukon). It is also one of only two Canadian provinces that are landlocked (the other being Saskatchewan).

Roughly 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta's largest city and a major distribution and transportation hub as well as one of Canada's major commerce centres. Edmonton is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's oil sands and other northern resource industries. According to recent population estimates, these two metropolitan areas have now both exceeded 1 million people.

Other municipalities in the province include Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Camrose, Lloydminster, Brooks, Wetaskiwin, Banff, Cold Lake, and Jasper.

Alberta is economically important primarily because of its vast oil reserves, and its large tertiary and quaternary economic sector.


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There are 42 public school jurisdictions in Alberta, and 17 operating separate school jurisdictions. Sixteen of the operating separate school jurisdictions have a Roman Catholic electorate, and one (St. Albert) has a Protestant electorate.

The most recent significant development in the governance of education in Alberta has been the emergence of Francophone education authorities in response to the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). There are five Francophone authorities in Alberta. In the south a public Francophone authority and a separate Francophone authority share coterminous boundaries. In the north there are three authorities which provide both public and separate school education. The Francophone authorities, together, cover the province, but they are not required to provide Francophone education from place to place, except where numbers warrant, and it is the responsibility of the board of the authority to decide whether numbers warrant.

Alberta charter schools are a special type of public schools which have a greater degree of autonomy than a normal public school, to allow them to offer programmes that are significantly different from regular public schools operated by district school boards. Charter schools report directly to the province, bypassing their local district school board. Alberta, which passed enabling legislation in 1994, is the only province in Canada to have them. They are similar in many ways to charter schools in the United States. So far none of the charter schools seem to heavily feature e-learning. For a list see

The Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) is an Alberta government initiative which seeks to "improve student learning and performance by fostering initiatives that reflect the unique needs and circumstances of each school authority".

One of the Catholic school districts has interesting developments in virtual schooling - the School of Alternative Education, offering the Revelation e-learning environment - see and

Universities and colleges

  1. Alberta's oldest and largest university is Edmonton's University of Alberta.
  2. The University of Calgary, once affiliated with the University of Alberta, gained its autonomy in 1966, and is now the second largest university in Alberta.
  3. The University of Lethbridge has campuses in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge.
  4. Athabasca University focuses on distance learning.
  5. In September 2009, the Government of Alberta designated two former Colleges as Universities - MacEwan University in Edmonton and Mount Royal University in Calgary.

There are 13 colleges that receive direct public funding, along with two technical institutes, NAIT and SAIT.

There is also a large and active private sector of post-secondary institutions, including DeVry University.

Students may also receive government loans and grants while attending selected private institutions.

There has been some controversy in recent years over the rising cost of post-secondary education for students (as opposed to taxpayers).

In 2005, the Premier made a promise that he would freeze tuition and look into ways of reducing schooling costs. So far, no plan has been released by the Alberta government.

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