Enrolment was on the agenda for the January 4 Committee I meeting.
The report gives updated enrolment and projected enrolment up to 2031. A slow decline in the number of students is anticipated until 2030 and, based on my neighbourhood experience, lack of affordable housing for families with young children is a huge factor. We have seen, and continue to see, many families move to Richmond, Burnaby and Surrey, and this is true for both renters and buyers.
The percent of students attending public school has remained stable for the last 10 years, at about 83%.
Elementary and Secondary District Choice Programs are listed by enrolment and by far the most students are in French Immersion.
Numbers are given for Out of Catchment enrolments from 2012-16, including the number of students, and the percentage of students by regular (not including district choice programs) and total enrolment. More students are attending their catchment schools in 2016 than 2012, 77% compared to 75%, and so the numbers of out of catchment students are declining.
I believe that every catchment school can provide an excellent education for most students (there are district programs for students with special learning needs) and would like to ensure that all families know that their neighbourhood school is a good option for student learning.
Once again the numbers of adult education students are disappointing and in particular the number of graduated adult students dropped sharply in 2015/16, to a third of the level in the previous two years.
This two-thirds reduction, about 2,000 students, can be tied directly to the May 2015 removal of provincial funding for academic courses and the introduction of a $550 course fee. The provincial government has put in place a financial barrier for students wanting to upgrade their high school academic courses to access post-secondary education/improve their employment prospects and this barrier should be removed.
Committee stakeholders asked about the distribution of K-12 international students by grade and the number of courses students take in Grades 10-12. Data was not immediately available but will be provided.
Questions were also asked about the financial viability of adult education with the new graduated adult fees, and how capacity is calculated. Some stakeholders also expressed their dismay at the province’s lack of support for adult education and called for advocacy to reverse the cuts.
A stakeholder also requested an update on the Living Wage report that came to Committee I in 2016.