Working meeting concerning the success of First Nations and Inuit students in CEGEP and university.
MONTRÉAL, May 25, 2018 – Today, a working meeting was held concerning the success of First Nations and Inuit students in CEGEP and university. This meeting is part of a process that was started last October, with the goal of developing a higher education strategy for First Nations and the Inuit.
Many representatives and partners from CEGEPs and universities, student associations and Indigenous organizations were brought together for the occasion, and were able to take stock of the work done over the last year by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur.
Hélène David, Minister responsible for Higher Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, along with the ministry, have made Indigenous academic perseverance and success a priority, and have increased the number of measures to that effect in the past year. As part of the Government Action Plan for the Social and Cultural Development of the First Nations and Inuit, the ministry is responsible for five measures concerning higher education, totalling $9.58 million over five years, $8.95 million of which is new appropriations. One of the key measures is to support the establishment of two Indigenous student housing pilot projects. This measure involves a total investment of $4.2 million in new expenditures over four years. The ministry is working to implement this measure in collaboration with the Regroupement des Centres d’Amitié Autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ), Native Friendship Centres, and higher education institutions in Trois-Rivières and Sept-Îles.
Remember that in Québec’s new university funding policy, recurring yearly sums of $500,000 each are accorded to UQAT and UQAC in order to support Indigenous student success.
During the meeting, participants were also able to discuss different actions that might promote academic perseverance and success in CEGEP and university for First Nations and Inuit youth.
In order to encourage cooperation between all parties concerned, representatives of the Indigenous organizations, the higher education network and the ministry have decided to establish a permanent forum on academic perseverance and success for First Nations and Inuit students. This body‘s first mandate will be to draw up a declaration that asks CEGEPs, universities, Indigenous people and the ministry to work together to ensure academic perseverance and success for Indigenous students by providing the government with specific recommendations.
Hélène David, Minister responsible for Higher Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, was very satisfied with the meeting and the ideas discussed.
The educational success of Indigenous students is a priority for the Government of Québec. We want to increase the number of students who pursue higher education and to encourage academic perseverance among First Nations and Inuit youth. These students are future leaders in their communities. They must be able to benefit from quality educational services and conditions that promote an inspiring academic experience in order to fully develop their potential. They must also be able to grow in a school environment that is culturally pertinent and affirming.
– Hélène David, Minister responsible for Higher Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women
Youth are our future. This is especially true for Indigenous communities, which are particularly young and, above all, full of potential. It is extremely important to offer First Nations and Inuit youth an academic framework that reflects the realities and particularities of their values and cultures, so that they can grow within an education system where they feel comfortable and valued. We are convinced that by working together, we can succeed in improving the quality of life of Indigenous peoples.
– Geoffrey Kelley, Minister responsible for Native Affairs
Over the last year, many actions have already been taken with the aim of supporting the academic perseverance and success of First Nations and Inuit students. Some of these include:
- Holding twenty semi-structured interviews throughout the province with researchers and representatives from Indigenous organizations, higher education institutions and student associations
- Supporting the planning of the Convention on Perseverance and Academic Achievement for First Peoples, the third of which was held last October
- Renewing support for Kiuna Institution, the First Nations centre for college studies
- The ministry providing a total of $1,038,625 to over 25 colleges in 2017-2018 as part of the Accueil et Intégration des Autochtones au collégial (reception and integration of Indigenous people in college program)
- The ministry using $1,883,500 to promote the success and inclusion of university students as part of its program supporting members of Indigenous communities
- The 2017 ministry authorization to offer the following pre-university programs: Arts, Literature and Communication – First Nations and Inuit (500.C1) in three new institutions, and Social Science – First Nations and Inuit (300.D0) in two new institutions
- The ministry allocating a guaranteed minimum of $109,200 (2017-2018 year) per year, indexed annually, for the Springboard to a DCS – First Nations (081.05) program in three institutions