Saskatoon

New strategy will see Indigenous content in all of Sask. Polytechnic's courses

Saskatchewan Polytechnic plans to have Indigenous content in every single one of its more than 150 programs by 2023 as part of its new Indigenous strategy.

Indigenous students account for nearly 20% of student body

Jason Seright said there will be Indigenous elements in all of Saskatchewan Polytechnic's programs by 2023. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC)

Saskatchewan Polytechnic plans to have Indigenous content in every single one of its more than 150 programs by 2023 as part of its new Indigenous strategy.

The trend of moving post-secondary institutes toward "Indigenization" is an indication that these institutes know work can be done to be more inclusive and welcoming for Indigenous students, according to Sask. Polytech's director of Indigenous strategy. 

"Our education system has been the most inclusive when we talk about Indigenous people from that history [of residential schools' impact]," Jason Seright said.

"We need to know that our Indigenous students are coming from a different place and understand that." 

The new Indigenous strategy was crafted to replace the first one at the Saskatoon post-secondary institution. The past strategy is about a decade old, Seright said.

He said the new strategy is aimed at addressing issues within the education system, such as Indigenous students graduating at a lower rate than non-Indigenous students. Indigenous students make up 19 per cent of the institution's student body.

Some reasons why Indigenous students might graduate at a lower rate are culture shock or general leeriness about the education system, he said. 

There's also a personal element for Seright, whose parents went to residential schools and "had to make sacrifices for their education."

But the biggest personal factor for him, he said, is his grandson. Seright said he would like his grandson to feel comfortable in post-secondary schooling when he graduates from high school.

"I feel by me contributing to this plan and looking at this strategy, I think we're setting that up for future generations." 

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning