B.C. praises jump in aboriginal graduation rate but trails national

VANCOUVER - British Columbia's government is celebrating record-high graduation rates for aboriginal students, but indigenous high-school completion levels, provincially and for the rest of Canada, still fall significantly short of the national average.

See Full Article

The number of aboriginal students finishing secondary school in the province has increased steadily from about 54 to 63 per cent over the past six years, as indicated by data from B.C.'s Education Ministry.

But that is still more than 20 percentage points shy of the 84-per-cent average for the general population in B.C.

"Seeing any kind of increase in those numbers is of course very welcome," said Linc Kesler, a professor at the University of British Columbia and director of the school's First Nations House of Learning.

Kesler predicted the upward trend will continue with further efforts to bridge the funding gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students and by increasing the amount of aboriginal content being taught in school.

"The curriculum piece is really critical," he said.

"Overcoming the silence and exclusion of aboriginal people in the way, for instance, Canadian history is taught ... is really important and I think has a really significant impact."

Kesler pointed to a big push underway in the Prairie provinces to overhaul school curricula to include First Nations content.

The word aboriginal is an all-encompassing term that includes First Nations, Metis and Inuit. There are about 1,175,000 aboriginals in Canada, of which about 700,000 identify as First Nations.

A 2011 Assembly of First Nations report pegged the 2004-2009 First-Nations graduation rate at 36 per cent, compared to a Canadian average of 72 per cent over the same time period.

The Canadian Press obtained a 2014 Manitoba government internal report earlier this year that noted the province had the lowest First Nations secondary-school graduation rate in the country at 28 per cent. However, a Statistics Canada publication from 2011 found 50 per cent of Manitoba's indigenous people between 25 and 64 have at least a high-school degree.

A shifting culture is also having an impact on improved graduation rates, said Kesler, with more encouragement for aboriginal students to carry on to university or college.

"There was once a time when ... there wasn't such an interest in seeing them graduate or proceed to post-secondary," he said. "People were being tracked out of academic courses with a fair degree of regularity."

B.C.'s Education Minister Mike Bernier was unavailable for comment, but said in a statement that he's encouraged to see so many aboriginal students graduating at the same time.

"There is still work to do so every aboriginal student has the skills they need to succeed in a changing world," said an additional statement from the ministry.

University of Manitoba academic Frank Deer says there are still remote communities in the North that don't offer kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, and that graduation rates tend to be higher in southern Canada, closer to urban centres.

Deer referenced a program that sees First Nations students in a Winnipeg school district placed in health-care work settings between Grades 9 to 12 in order to focus on the connection between education and a career.

The retention rate for the initial group was an "amazing" 100 per cent, he said.

"We're in an exciting era where many school districts, many provincial authorities, are beginning to engage in program development, engage in community supports," said Deer.

"I do see the glass half full. In fact, better than that - I'm very encouraged for the future."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hillary Clinton praises Trudeau, celebrates Roy Moore defeat in Vancouver

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Hillary Clinton says she feels "a tiny bit less" concerned about the United States following the Democratic party's surprise win in Alabama's senate race on Tuesday. The former presidential candidate is calling the electoral upset a turning point for Americans in pushing for accountability from U.S. Source
  • Alberta says Sask. has implemented licence plate ban on government job sites

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta says Saskatchewan has served notice that as of right now no vehicles with Alberta licence plates are allowed on any Saskatchewan government job sites. That is a change from last week, when Saskatchewan said the ban would apply only on future government road and building projects. Source
  • 2 Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar face official secrets charges

    World News CBC News
    Myanmar's government said on Wednesday that police had arrested two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rahkine State that has caused almost 650,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. Source
  • Ontario Liberals ordered hydro firms to advertise rate-cut plan on bills: NDP

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the provincial government ordered hydro distribution companies to place partisan messages on customers' bills that advertise the Liberals' plan to cut electricity rates. Horwath says the order, signed by Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault and deputy premier Deb Matthews, said the messages promoting the government's Fair Hydro Plan were to appear on bills from July 2017 to July 2018, a period which ends a month after the next provincial…
  • Police looking for more women extorted for nude photos in alleged Ont.-wide scheme

    Canada News CTV News
    Police have laid dozens of charges against a man accused of using Instagram and Snapchat to extort women for nude photographs and money. Police allege that the 22-year-old from Stratford, Ont. communicated with more than 12 women from across the province and promised them money in exchange for naked pictures of themselves. Source
  • Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt charged with illegal deer kill on private land

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An Alberta member of the legislature who is already dealing with charges of hit and run is now facing accusations of illegally shooting a deer. Derek Fildebrandt, the Independent member for Strathmore-Brooks, has been charged with unlawful possession of wildlife and entering onto private land without permission. Source
  • Wildlife committee launches emergency assessment for B.C. steelhead salmon

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The dismal return for steelhead salmon in British Columbia's Interior Fraser River system has prompted an emergency assessment of the species. Alan Sinclair with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada says average annual returns of the fish should be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000. Source
  • Wildlife committee launches emergency assessment for B.C. steelhead

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A dismal return for steelhead salmon in British Columbia's Interior Fraser River system has prompted an emergency assessment of the species. Eric Taylor, chair of Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, said two recent requests from the public for an investigation into the species in addition to mounting evidence of the steelhead decline led to last week's decision to take action. Source
  • Hostage situation at Toronto-area bank ends after police shoot armed man

    Canada News CBC News
    The armed man who entered a bank in Vaughan Wednesday afternoon has been shot and killed, York Regional Police say. Const. Andy Pattenden said police needed "lethal force" to gain control of the situation at an RBC bank branch located at the corner of Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street. Source
  • Accused tells Winnipeg letter-bomb trial he knows nothing about explosives

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A man accused of sending letter bombs to two law offices and his ex-wife testified Wednesday that he was trying to put an acrimonious past with her behind him and did not send the packages. Source