The Manitoba government has started a public awareness campaign to encourage more young people to stay in school.

The campaign 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.

Education Minister Wayne 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2023