Aboriginal educators and advocates say the Conservative government's promise to reform First Nations education in the throne speech Wednesday is welcome news.
Raven Hart of the University of Winnipeg Aboriginal Student Council said Thursday aboriginal students face greater challenges than others.
"There is a lot of pressure and a lot going on there, so our students have to take the time to focus on their studies when they have a lot of things to worry about," she said.
Hart said being far from home, adjusting to city life, and even making rent are daily worries.
Aboriginal students are also at a disadvantage because the quality of education in remote communities isn't the same as in major centres.
Dr. Robert-Falcon Ouellette of the University of Manitoba's Aboriginal Focus Programs says First Nations education is underfunded.
"Currently the students aren't succeeding very well," he said. "We know they are falling further and further behind the rest of Canadians."
Ouellette was glad to see the government's commitment to education for First Nations, but he wants to see it done properly.
"It's too soon in the sense that we won't have a good model," he said. "We're going to have to pass some type of law and in ten years figure out sorry, we made a mistake, we messed up."
The federal government and aboriginal leaders have discussed how to improve education on reserves.
But MKO Grand Chief David Harper said that's been a superficial effort so far. He said in Manitoba the only consultation that was done, was in Winnipeg, and just 3 northern chiefs were invited.
"We've got to go way deeper," he said. "We have to go to the communities that are remote and isolated, because that's where you are going to get the true figures and facts."
Harper said to see changes at the university level, change has to start in the community at the elementary level.