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B.C. boosts Indigenous student funding by $6.15 million

Cash infusion aims to address systemic barriers
Melanie Mark
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark says funds will increase indigenous students access to education

B.C.’s government has announced $6.15 million in funding support for Indigenous students in the province’s post-secondary schools.

"We are committed to ensuring Indigenous learners have greater access to post-secondary education and training, and cultural supports to succeed in their educational goals,” Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark said June 20.

Mark said the funding is part of the government’s work in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action by empowering Indigenous students to pursue career dreams.

The funding is earmarked for schools to develop learning environments as well as partnerships and programs that improve Indigenous post-secondary experiences and outcomes,and programs and supports to address systemic barriers.

“Students are our future. By improving Indigenous students' experiences and outcomes in post-secondary school, we are advancing reconciliation and helping to build a brighter future for everyone,” Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser said.

Programs and activities supported by the funding include:

• outreach activities and events promoting Indigenous cultures;

• Indigenous cultural training for faculty and staff at post-secondary institutions;

• enhanced programs and courses to include Indigenous culture and knowledge;

• support services and initiatives for students, such as financial, academic or career counselling;

• delivery of programs or courses on campus or in Indigenous communities, and;

•  partnerships and engagement in Indigenous communities, such as through community liaison, peer mentorship or Elders-in-residence programs.

The funding includes a one-time additional investment of $1.75 million by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in programs and services for Indigenous students.

Some 23,240 Indigenous students make up 8.3% of the domestic student population.

B.C. Indigenous students were awarded 3,637 credentials in 2018-19, an increase of 38%, or 1,003, over 2009-10. One provincial Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan goal is to increase that number by 75% by 2020-21.


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