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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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November 27, 2003


School numbers no surprise
Responding to change


By Kristine Hamlyn
School enrolment continues to drop across the province. Newly appointed Education Minister John Ottenheimer released the most recent preliminary student enrolment statistics for the 2003-2004 school year on Nov. 13. The enrolment figures indicated a drop in each of the province’s 11 school districts and an overall 3.1 per cent decline for the province as a whole.

The figures were no surprise to Memorial University. In fact, a strong recruitment and retention strategy has already been built into the university’s strategic framework in response to the continually changing demographics.

While the potential pool of Newfoundland and Labrador high school students eligible to apply to Memorial is getting smaller, Dr. Michael Collins, associate vice-president (academic), is confident in the abilities of Memorial’s Office of Student Recruitment to not only maintain but increase Memorial’s student population.

“It is clear the important role the re-vamped Office of Student Recruitment plays in making sure the university has the appropriate numbers of students for its programs,” said Dr. Collins. “The recruitment team realizes the importance of recruiting as many eligible Newfoundland and Labrador students into the university as possible, while at the same time recognizes the increased capacity to attract more students nationally and internationally.”

As stated in the university’s strategic framework, Memorial will act to improve its capacities to recruit and retain able students, with all that this implies about engaging its alumni, communicating strengths more effectively, creating a more welcoming and supportive environment for learners, giving unflagging attention to improving the quality of student life and increasing the potential for educational successes.

The district of Northern Peninsula/Labrador South saw one of the largest percentage changes, declining 5.3 per cent to 2,909 students from 3,073 last year.

Avalon East experienced the largest change in actual numbers, declining 504 students since last year.

Preliminary numbers for 2003-04 indicate there are only 81,634 students enrolled in the K-12 system this year, 2,634 less than 2002-03.


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Next issue: December 11, 2003

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