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Province hopes to lower student truancy rate

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The province unveiled a new strategy Friday in its campaign to get kids to attend school every day.

Education Minister Nancy Allan said the province is teaming up with parent councils and schools in a public campaign that will reach out to parents with videos, posters and pamphlets.

The strategy, called Everybody in School Every Day, was announced Friday at an annual education event, The Attendance Fair, at the Caboto Centre in Winnipeg.

Manitoba has one of the higher truancy rates in the country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The international body published statistics in 2010 that showed the percentage of 18- and 19-year olds who are dropouts in this province was 15.9 per cent, the same as Prince Edward Island and Alberta.

Dropout rates were higher in Saskatchewan and Ontario and Nova Scotia, but the national average was lower at 14.7 per cent of kids in that age group.

"It is very difficult to succeed in today's world without a good education and that's why we are joining with parent councils and schools to reach out to parents and students to help them understand the value of an education," Allan said.

The Manitoba Association of Parent Councils developed the videos, posters and pamphlets. Manitoba earmarked $200,000 for a two-year pilot project and the parents association received $50,000 to come up with new ideas to boost school attendance.

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