Indigenous group, teachers federation ask for more First Nations education funds

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan Indigenous group and another one representing teachers want the government to do more for First Nations schooling.

Numbers from Saskatchewan Education show 2019 high-school graduation rates for First Nations, Metis and Inuit students dropped only slightly from the previous year.
But despite mostly increases since 2012, they are still well below the overall rate in the province.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations says candidates in next year’s provincial election should commit to more funding for First Nations education.
Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, adds it’s unacceptable that the education gap remains so large and it’s time to do more.

The three-year Indigenous graduation rate dropped 1.1 per cent this year to 43.4 per cent, while remaining almost exactly the same for non-Indigenous students at 77.3 per cent.

Maze says there are some bright spots, including the Following Their Voices program, which was designed to raise the educational achievement and participation of Indigenous students. But he points out that it’s provided in only 29 schools.

“We need to stop looking at what the costs are, and start looking at what the costs are of not acting,” Maze said. “We know that when 60 per cent of First Nations children don’t graduate, they end up in other areas requiring significantly more funding.”
Cameron agreed.

“Investing in education rather than incarceration benefits everybody,” he said. “It would help the overall provincial deficit. The list goes on and on on the positive impacts when investing in education.” (CKWW)

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