Manitoba schools see drop in enrolment during pandemic: report

Manitoba has released its annual school enrolment report, which attributes “significant decreases” in enrolment to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, which is mandatory for public schools, funded independent schools, and non-funded independent schools, shows about a five per cent decrease in children attending school in person, and a 118 per cent increase in kids being homeschooled.

Enrolment numbers are based on the total number of pupils attending school on Sept. 30, 2020.

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Among the report’s findings are a decrease in total enrolment over 2019, with a drop of 4,862 students — or 2.3 per cent — across the province.

Those changes were most notable in early years, with nursery schools losing 41 per cent year-over-year, and kindergarten dropping by 7.2 per cent.

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The school divisions that experienced the biggest drops were Winnipeg School Division, which lost 3,148 students, Frontier School Division (650), and Hanover School Division (593), though in terms of percentage, Garden Valley School Division topped the list, with its 449-pupil reduction representing 9.9 per cent of its total enrolment.

While the number of homeschooled kids in Manitoba seemed to show a large increase, at almost 118 per cent, in terms of actual numbers, it represents an increase of 4,338 students.

The annual report is compiled by Manitoba Education’s Education Funding Branch.

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