New video campaign is part of a plan to cut school absenteeism in Manitoba

The Manitoba government has started a public awareness campaign to encourage more young people to stay in school. The campaign, dubbed "School. Keep Going",  includes

videos that show young people talking about how going to school opens more possibilities for their future. The government has also issued a new policy directive for school

divisions to help monitor and analyze absenteeism. "Schools are key to lifelong success by engaging students in learning through both classroom and extracurricular

activities and supporting them through their individual education path," Education Minister Wayne Ewasko said in a release. Video: Absenteeism in Manitoba schools

"Students who attend school regularly are more confident and engaged, have a greater sense of community belonging and are more likely to obtain a high school diploma."

Ewasko says school divisions will be updating their own policies to match by the end of the school year. While absenteeism rates have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic,

the province started looking at chronic absenteeism before the pandemic began. Sel Burrows, a community activist and member of a provincial working group on education, says

reducing the number of chronically absent students would lead to lower poverty rates.