British Columbia

High school graduation rate among Aboriginal students up 10 per cent in B.C.

However, it's still more than 18 per cent behind the general provincial average and advocates say there's a long way to go.

Numbers still behind general provincial average

The general graduation rate for high school students in B.C. has held steady for four years, but it's on the rise for Aboriginal and French Immersion students. (CBC)

The number of Aboriginal students finishing high school in B.C. continues to rise past record levels, even while graduation rates for the general student population stay the same.

Over the past eight years, the number of aboriginal students earning their high school diplomas has increased by about 10 per cent — hitting 64.4 per cent in 2016.

The word Aboriginal includes First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada.

The steady rise in success has been celebrated by the government — however, it's still more than 18 per cent behind the general provincial average and advocates say there's a long way to go.

Tyrone McNeil, president of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, said the system needs to be remodeled.

"The system allows teachers to give up on our kids. The system allows the teachers to have no expectations for our kids," he told CBC News in June.

"It's about modifying and reshaping that system so it's more inclusive of First Nations, but it is done in a way that educates all those involved about who we are as First Nations people."

Just over 90 per cent of Francophone students finished high school, with English as a Learned Language (ELL) students at around 87 per cent.

French Immersion students have the highest graduation rate, with 96 per cent of students earning their diplomas in the 2015/16 school year. 

The province said more than 537,000 students are heading back to school in B.C. this fall.

With files from the Canadian Press