Over the past 30 years, the number of students in Manitoba’s public schools has declined substantially and the downward trend is continuing in most school divisions.
At the present time, only 15 school divisions accept international students.
While there are currently less than 500 international students in Manitoba, many more can be accommodated.
Between 1999 and 2003, 27 school divisions experienced a total decline in student population of 8,619.
Since most of these divisions have the same infrastructure available as they did four years ago, this enrolment decline has created many extra spaces.
If Manitoba divisions accepted just 8,500 international students to compensate for enrolment declines, and each of these students paid tuition in the amount of $10,000, an extra $85 million in funding would be pumped into the public school system and could improve instructional programs for all students.
In terms of living expenses, international students would also contribute to the local economies of the communities where they attend school.
Some rural communities, notably Leaf Rapids and Lynn Lake, have been devastated by the loss of major industries. International education could provide these and other communities with an additional source of stable, long-term growth.
The government of Manitoba can capitalize on this opportunity by exploring ways to increase the number of international students in the province.
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