by Carmen Weld
Five years ago the Central Okanagan Aboriginal communities, the Ministry of Education, and the school districts developed a strategy to support Aboriginal students. Wednesday they celebrated their success, and planned for the future.
Since the first Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement was signed in 2009, the percentage of Aboriginal students graduating from high-school has risen 11 per cent.
With song, dance, food and stories, Aboriginal student success was highlighted at Sensisyusten House of Learning in West Kelowna.
The Ministry of Education says with this collaborative work the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students in the district has risen to 66 per cent from 55 per cent five years ago
"Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements continue to foster success for Aboriginal students so they feel welcome and valued through their educational journey,” said the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender.
The BC Government says a lot of progress has been made since the first agreement was signed.
“Academic support and unique programs such as the academy of indigenous studies and Aboriginal student leadership courses are ensuring more students are engaged and successful with their studies,” says the Ministry of Education.
"The most basic part of a secure tomorrow is making sure today's kids are prepared for tomorrow's jobs with a good education. That starts at places like Sensisyusten House of Learning,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna.
There are 2,228 Aboriginal students in the Central Okanagan school district for 2013-14 making up 11 per cent of the overall student population of 21,995.