Reconciliation through education: New research shows significant growth in university programs and services for Indigenous students
OTTAWA – A survey of Canada’s universities shows that campuses across the country have scaled up programs and services specifically designed to meet the needs of Indigenous students. From 2013 to 2015, academic programming for Indigenous students increased 33 percent, along with growth in targeted services and support.
Information on new and continuing programs and services are shared in Universities Canada’s recently updated online directory for Indigenous students, their parents and guidance counsellors. The comprehensive, searchable database of resources designed to meet the needs of Indigenous students profiles 233 undergraduate programs and 62 graduate-level programs with a focus on Indigenous issues or specifically designed for Indigenous students. It shows that 86 percent of universities offer targeted support services, including academic counselling and peer mentorship, to meet the unique needs of Indigenous students. Sixty-nine percent of Canadian universities offer programs to help Indigenous students transition to university, including mentorship starting as early as the elementary school years.
“Education is an important pathway to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “By working together with Indigenous leaders, communities and scholars, universities have made important changes to support access and success for Indigenous students in higher education. But more must be done. University leaders are committed to bringing further improvements to curriculum, services and governance structures to ensure that Indigenous culture and knowledge are reflected in all parts of the university community.”
Indigenous youth is one of the fastest-growing segments of the population, with more than 650,000 Indigenous people under the age of 25. Yet the university completion rate Indigenous people aged 25-64 is less than 10 percent, compared to more than 26 percent of non-Indigenous Canadians in the same age group.
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities. The association continues to encourage federal investments in improved financial assistance for Indigenous students and support for successful institutional programming that helps Indigenous students complete their educational goals. Canadian universities are committed to playing a leadership role in the reconciliation process, and in 2015 adopted 13 principles on Indigenous education to improve Indigenous student success and strengthen Indigenous leadership throughout the university community.
About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.
Assistant Director, Communications
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