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Public school enrolment shrinking: Statcan

But the cost of education has increased by 31.9% over the same period

Enrolments in Canada’s public schools declined between school years 1999-2000 and 2005-06. Just over 5.2 million children were enrolled in 2005-06, down three per cent from 1999-2000, according to a report by Statistics Canada.The only province to report an increase was Alberta, where enrolment increased one per cent to 552,000. The largest decline in enrolment occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of students fell 18.4 per cent. That province’s school-age population fell 17.7 per cent during the same period.

Elsewhere, declines ranged from 10.1 per cent in Nova Scotia to 0.6 per cent in Ontario.

The number of high-school graduates in Canada was up three per cent from 1999-2000. Just under 314,000 students graduated from public secondary schools in 2005-06.

Among the provinces, the fastest increase occurred in Alberta, where 32,400 individuals graduated in 2005-06, up 14.2 per cent from 1999-2000.

The high-school graduation rate was close to 75 per cent in 2005-06, unchanged from 1999-2000. Graduation rates were highest in the Atlantic provinces and Saskatchewan, and lowest in Alberta and the three territories.

Expenditures of public elementary and secondary schools in Canada rose 27.6 per cent during the survey period to $47.4 billion. Consumer prices rose 15.2 per cent over the same period.

In 1999-2000, it cost on average $7,357 to educate a student in Canada. Six years later, this cost had increased 31.9 per cent to $9,704, a rate of increase higher than the inflation rate.

Among the provinces, the annual cost per student in 2005-06 ranged from a high of more than $10,000 in Alberta and Manitoba to a low of about $7,650 in Prince Edward Island.

The number of educators was up 2.5 per cent from six years earlier. There were slightly over 329,000 educators in Canadian public schools in 2005-06.

The Canadian Press

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