Every post-secondary institution in Saskatchewan has agreed to work towards closing the aboriginal education gap.
The Presidents of the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, First Nations University and a host of other institutions made the announcement in Saskatoon today.
'As a group, we recognize that the disparity in education outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan remains one of the province's biggest challenges.' - Peter Stoicheff, University of Saskatchewan President
"We, the presidents and executive heads of all Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions, acknowledge the importance of building reconciliation," stated the agreement. "While honouring the unique missions and mandates of each of our institutions, we will seek opportunities to collaborate, in consultation with Aboriginal communities, to close the education gap for Aboriginal people."
The agreement was announced at the Building Reconciliation forum, a national meeting of university presidents and aboriginal leaders taking place this week at the University of Saskatchewan. The forum is taking a look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's report, and how universities can help to implement the recommendations.
"As a group, we recognize that the disparity in education outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan remains one of the province's biggest challenges," said University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff in a news release. "At the U of S, we are committed to strengthening our efforts across the institution to ensure the success of our Aboriginal faculty, students and staff."
It's believed this is the first time every post-secondary institution in a province has come together in support of aboriginal education.
Low First Nations and Metis graduation rates are an issue across the country. The group says this gap can be blamed on the residential school system, and the effects it created across generations.
The University of Saskatchewan says it plans to hold campus events next year where faculty, staff and students can provide input on how aboriginal students "can feel welcome and can succeed and excel".