Reserve schools failing First Nations students: study

VANCOUVER - Reserve schools are failing Canada's aboriginal students and there is no quick-and-easy fix, says a new report from the C.D.

See Full Article

Howe Institute.

A study released Thursday by the research group found that only four of 10 young adults living on reserves across the country have finished high school.

Those figures contrast sharply with graduation rates of seven out of 10 for off-reserve aboriginals and nine out of 10 for non-aboriginals. The study also found eight out of 10 Metis graduate from high school across the country.

John Richards, one of the study's authors, said any attempt at reform needs to be multi-pronged and more incremental than earlier attempts at sweeping, legislative solutions.

"There's no silver bullet here. Giving more money won't fix it all," Richards said in an interview, adding that an increase in funding is still an essential part of any viable plan to improve on-reserve schools.

The study called "Students in Jeopardy: An Agenda for Improving Results in Band-Operated Schools" highlights the many repercussions stemming from low levels of education, including unemployment, poverty, limited social and economic opportunities, crime, health problems and ongoing dependence on government for housing.

"This bleak prospect should make improving education results for on-reserve students imperative for bands, the (Assembly of First Nations) and the federal government," reads the report.

The research singles out British Columbia as leading the country for high-school certification on reserves, coming in at nearly 60 per cent - handily topping the national average of 42 per cent.

B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier was quoted late last year as celebrating a nine-percentage-point jump in the aboriginal graduation rate in the province over the past six years, both on and off reserves.

In comparison, the graduation level in Manitoba was pegged at 30 per cent, about half that of British Columbia's.

Richards attributed B.C.'s relative success to several factors, including the presence of a provincewide aboriginal education group that acts as a pseudo-school board, as well as collaboration between B.C.'s First Nations Education Steering Committee, the province and the federal government.

He spoke against focusing immediately on legislation as a solution, referencing the high-profile failures of the Kelowna Accord a decade ago and, more recently, Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act that drew loud opposition from the aboriginal community.

"The diversity of viewpoints among First Nation leaders and the often poorly informed positions advanced in Parliament mean that legislative reserve-school reform has become a Sisyphean exercise," the report read.

Instead, Richards pushed for incremental change by increasing reserve-school funding, setting clear and measurable targets, regularly assessing those targets and affirming band responsibilities.

"A prerequisite to improving reserve schools is to acknowledge First Nations' legitimate distrust of government, rooted in Canada's efforts to dismantle aboriginal languages and cultures, in particular through residential schools," reads the report.

A spokeswoman for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said the Liberal government will make "significant new investments" to ensure children on reserves receive a quality education, while also respecting the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.

"The government will explore options and develop a road map to move forward on First Nation education. We will be able to provide more details once that direction is established," said Valerie Hache in a statement.

"By sitting down with First Nations and listening to their concerns and ideas, we will be able to determine together how to improve education outcomes for First Nation students and ensure First Nation control of education reforms in their communities."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Autopsy: California's 'I-5 Strangler' was strangled himself

    World News CTV News
    IONE, CALIF -- A California serial killer who authorities say strangled and raped at least seven women was fatally choked himself in a state prison, officials said Wednesday. Roger Reece Kibbe, 81, known as the "I-5 Strangler" in the 1970s and 1980s, was spotted unresponsive Sunday in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison southeast of Sacramento -- his 40-year-old cellmate standing nearby. Source
  • U.K. police rule out criminal inquiry into 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- British police said on Thursday they had ruled out a criminal investigation into the famous 1995 BBC interview with the late Diana, Princess of Wales after complaints from her brother that she had been tricked into taking part with the use of forged documents. Source
  • WHO says most African countries to begin vaccination drives by end of March

    World News CBC News
    Most African countries will kick-start their COVID-19 vaccination programs by the end of March as efforts to procure doses for the continent's 1.3 billion people gather pace, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. The world's poorest continent faces logistical and financial obstacles to securing all the vaccines it needs, but the WHO-led COVAX facility has begun to bear fruit. Source
  • Analysts see Canada's new push for permanent residents as a short-term solution

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canada's recent move to offer permanent residency to more foreigners living and working in the country is a short-term solution to the economic problems spurred by a pandemic-related immigration slowdown, analysts say, while critics argue the strategy excludes too many vulnerable people. Source
  • Brutal crackdown widely filmed but Myanmar protests carry on

    World News CTV News
    Footage of Myanmar security forces chasing down demonstrators protesting a coup, shooting a civilian at point-blank range and savagely beating others have revealed the extent of a brutal crackdown that saw 38 people shot and killed in a single day. Source
  • 1,500 of nearly 1.1M COVID-19 vaccine doses wasted in Ontario

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario wasted 1,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during its three-month long inoculation campaign, CTV News Toronto has learned, despite an effort to avoid vaccine wastage. Data provided by the Ministry of Health shows approximately 1,100 of 871,800 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (0.1 per cent) and 400 of 220,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine (0.2 per cent) went to waste between Dec. Source
  • 17,000 earthquakes hit Iceland in the past week. An eruption could be imminent

    World News CTV News
    Even for a volcanic island accustomed to the occasional tremor, this has been an unusual week for Iceland. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, around 17,000 earthquakes have hit the southwestern region of Reykjanes over the past week. Source
  • Chaos as freed Nigerian schoolgirls reunited with families

    World News CTV News
    JANGEBE, NIGERIA -- Hundreds of Nigerian girls abducted last week from a boarding school in the country's northwest have been returned to their families amid chaos as security forces opened fire on a gathering outside the school where the reunions were held Wednesday. Source
  • Feds on high alert Thursday after warnings about potential threats to U.S. Capitol

    World News CTV News
    Federal law enforcement is on high alert Thursday in the wake of an intelligence bulletin issued earlier this week about a group of violent militia extremists having discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4 -- a date when some conspiracy theorists believe former U.S. Source
  • Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip has had a successful heart procedure

    World News CBC News
    Prince Philip has had a successful heart procedure at a London hospital, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. The palace says the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, "underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Source