British Columbia

Indigenous grad rate highest ever in B.C. but education gaps remain

70% of Indigenous students achieved Grade 12 graduation in 2017-18 compared to 86% of non-Indigenous students.

70% of Indigenous students achieved Grade 12 graduation in 2017-18 compared to 86% of non-Indigenous students

Indigenous graduations rates in B.C. were the highest ever in 2017-18, according to a new report. (Shutterstock/izzet ugutmen)

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from high school in British Columbia hit its highest level ever last year.

A report by Auditor General Carol Bellringer says 70 per cent of Indigenous students in B.C. achieved Grade 12 graduation in 2017-2018.

But she says there are still education gaps because 86 per cent of non-Indigenous students graduated from Grade 12 last year.

Bellringer says the audit is an update from a 2015 report that called on the Education Ministry to address differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in reading, writing and math assessments, graduation rates and feelings of safety at schools.

The audit makes 11 recommendations to the ministry, including more collaboration between education officials and Indigenous leaders to develop strategies to close the outcome gap for Indigenous students.

The Education Ministry says in a response to the report that much progress needs to be made, but the results have been compelling since 2013-2014 when the Indigenous graduation rate was 62 per cent.