OTTAWA – Canada’s universities today welcomed the opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous high school students across Canada about their views on university education and their aspirations for the future. “Conversation with Indigenous Youth” was an online dialogue that asked Indigenous high school students to share their thoughts on what university means to them and the steps they will take to achieve their educational goals.
The virtual discussion was hosted from Mount Saint. Vincent University in Halifax, with an audience of Indigenous youth from Nova Scotia in attendance. Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada took part in the discussion, providing insight as students shared their views. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University.
“We’re very grateful to these young people for sharing their thoughts and dreams about post-secondary education with us today,” said Mr. Davidson. “Canada’s universities are listening. We understand the urgency of addressing the university achievement gap in this country; that’s why today’s universities are increasingly adding and shaping programs to better meet the needs of Indigenous students.”
Indigenous youth is the fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population; there are almost half a million Indigenous people under the age of 20, yet their university attainment is just one-third the national average. The education differential in this country is large and growing – and Canada’s universities are working with the AFN, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and others to help close the gap.
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