Many generations of Canada’s Indigenous community have struggled to receive the education they deserve, and the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is severe. The Auditor General reports that, 24% of Indigenous students graduate high school, as opposed to the national average of 90%.
One factor that contributes to this gap is the fact that Indigenous schools have been historically underfunded and are often unable to provide adequate resources for their students. Resources such as up-to-date IT, extracurricular activities, and culturally appropriate curriculums are several major areas that have been impacted by the lack of funding. When these types of resources are available, they encourage student engagement and improve the likelihood that young people will continue their studies until graduation.
Public education programs in Canada are traditionally funded by the provincial school authorities but this is not the case for Indigenous schools. Most of the funding for Indigenous schools comes from the federal government. Because of the different funding model, schools on First Nations reserves have historically received 30-50% less in funding.
In response to this inequity, the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue has launched the Education Together campaign in an effort to raise awareness and encourage the Canadian government to bear witness to Calls to Action 7-10 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.
In the case of Indigenous education, it is clear that for students to succeed, they need different funding and programming than the non-Indigenous schools. The Centre for Public Dialogue is advocating for the involvement of elders and the community in educational affairs as well as for adequate funding for Indigenous schools.
The Centre has several ways that you can get involved in raising awareness:
- Take a picture while wearing your backpack or with people you look up to and post it on social media. Include a link the Education Together page and the hashtag #EducationTogether.
- Ask the Government to address Calls to Action 7-10 by sending these postcards to Ottawa, speaking with your members of parliament, or by taking action immediately through the online action alert.
- Educate your Sunday school class or school students about this issue using a fun and interactive method found in the teacher resource package provided.
- Host an Education Together Advocacy Event. Email the Centre for more information on how you can do this.
Visit the link below to find more information and resources about #EducationTogether.