Promising Practices in Supporting Success for Indigenous Students

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Indigenous peoples are diverse, within and across nations. However, Indigenous peoples have experienced colonisation processes that have undermined Indigenous young people’s access to their identity, language and culture. At the same time, Indigenous children have not generally had access to the same quality of education that other children in their country have had access to. These two forces in combination have undermined the educational opportunities and outcomes of successive generations of Indigenous children and young people, at times with catastrophic effect.

The six Canadian provinces and territories that participated in this study, along with New Zealand and Queensland (Australia), are actively seeking to better meet the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous students and their families.

The report seeks to identify promising strategies, policies, programmes and practices that support improved learning outcomes for Indigenous students and to build an empirical evidence base on Indigenous students in education. The study investigates four areas in Indigenous education: well-being, participation, engagement and achievement in education. These outcomes are inter-connected and mutually reinforcing, and each is essential for the success of every student.

English Also available in: French

Indigenous peoples and education in participating Canadian provinces and territories

Colonisation processes have had a profoundly negative impact on successive generations of Indigenous peoples in Canada. UNICEF recently looked at four measures of child well-being: income inequality, educational inequality, health inequality and life satisfaction. Out of 35 countries, Canada ranks in 26th place, meaning that young Canadians grow up in contexts characterised by relatively wide inequalities, especially of income, health and life satisfaction, although less so for education. Indigenous populations account for a growing share of the population and of school students in Canada, and they tend to be younger than the non-Indigenous population. Canadian data show that poverty rates among the children of Indigenous families are higher than among non-Indigenous families. However, there are important differences in Indigenous populations, including size, languages, and approaches to identification/self-identification. This chapter presents basic demographic and economic data for each of the Canadian provinces and territories participating in this study, as well as facts relating to education and Indigenous populations. The participating provinces and territories are: Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories and Yukon.

English Also available in: French

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