British Columbia

B.C falls short of provincial target for aboriginal graduation

B.C.'s aboriginal students are doing better, compared to past decades, but school boards still need to do more to foster "non-racist" school environments, said the province's auditor general Thursday.

'Educators need to expect that all aboriginal students will graduate'

B.C's aboriginal students in ten provincial districts are graduating less than 50 percent of the time, even though the provincial goal has set a graduation goal of 85 percent. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

B.C.'s aboriginal students are doing better, compared to past decades but school boards still need to do more to foster "non-racist" school environments, said the province's auditor general Thursday.

"There is a pretty consistent gap in graduation rates across Canada," said B.C. Auditor General, Carol Bellringer.

The province set a goal in 2005 to have 85 per cent of aboriginal students graduating by 2015, but with an overall graduation rate of 62 per cent has fallen far short of that goal. In 10 districts in B.C. the aboriginal graduation rate is actually lower than 50 percent.

Low expectations part of racist environment

"Educators need to expect that all aboriginal students will graduate, " said Bellringer in a media conference call Nov. 5, underlining the fact that "low expectations" are also part of a racist environment that needs to change.

The audit examined graduation rates across the province and did find improvements since 2005.

"No we did not reach the 85 percent graduation rate, no," said Bellringer, who blamed the ministry for not better analyzing and utilizing decades of student data performance.

"There is no real understanding of the why it is happening."

The audit of the Ministry of Education recommended:

  • The creation of a system-wide strategy.
  • The implementation of a more culturally sensitive curriculum.
  • School boards moving to intervene if districts consistently fail to serve aboriginal students.
  • Less reliance on "completion certificates" for aboriginal students.

Across Canada there is a persistent gap between graduation rates comparing aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.

  • 29 per cent of aboriginal Canadians aged 25-64 have not completed secondary school.
  • 12 per cent of non-aboriginal people aged 25-64 have not completed secondary school.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now