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Chapter 2 -Why is it important that Canada invest in the post ---

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Chapter 2 -Why is it important that Canada invest in the post ---

    First Nations Post-Secondary Education and Training Literature Review and Best Practices

    Leading towards recommendations for comprehensive

    post-secondary planning and evaluation framework

    for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

    A research report submitted to

    Mi‟kmaw Kina‟matnewey and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

    Jeff Orr, Ph.D

    Principal Researcher

    Crystal Roberts, BA

    Megan Ross, BSc

    Research Assistants

    June 16, 2008

    Correspondence:

    Email: jorr@stfx.ca

    Phone: 902-867-2214

    School of Education

    St. Francis Xavier University

    Antigonish, NS

    B2G 2W5

Acronyms

    ACAP Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program AFN Assembly of First Nations

    AHHRI Aboriginal Health Human Resource Initiative AUCC Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada BEd Bachelor of Education

    CABSS Committee for Aboriginal and Black Student Success CBU Cape Breton University

    CSLP Canada Student Loan Programs

    DAEB Department Audit and Evaluation Branch (INAC) Dal Dalhousie University

    FNAO First Nations Administering Organization INAC Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

    ISSP Indian Studies Support Program

    HRDC Human Resource Development Canada MCI Mi‟kmaq College Institute

    MEd Masters of Education

    METS Mi‟kmaq Education Training Secretariat

    MK Mi‟kmaw Kina‟matnewey

    MOU Memorandum of Understanding

    MSAP Mi‟kmaq Science Advantage Program

    NAIIHL National Association of Indigenous Institutes of Higher Learning

    NEO Native Employment Officer

    NIB National Indian Brotherhood

    NSCC Nova Scotia Community College

    OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development PSE Post-Secondary Education

    PSEAP Post-Secondary Education Assistance Program PSI Post-Secondary Institution

    PSSSP Post-Secondary Student Support Program RCAP Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples SES Socioeconomic Status

    STAIRS Social's Training Assistance Initiative Reinvestment Strategy

    StFX Saint Francis Xavier University

    TYP Transition Year Program

    U of BC University of British Columbia

    UCEP University and College Entrance Preparation Program U of M University of Manitoba

    XTEAC Xavier Teacher Education Advisory Committee YITS Youth in Transition Survey

    Table of Contents

    Chapter I Setting the Policy Context …………………………………………………....5 - 11

; “Gathering Strength” Report of The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Volume 3

    ; Best Practices in Increasing Aboriginal Postsecondary Enrollment Rates prepared for

    The Council of Minister of Education, Canada (CMEC) by R.A. Malatest & Associates

    Ltd., 2002 and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, 2004 ; Joint AFN/INAC PSE Program Review

    ; Auditor General’s observations and recommendations Chapter 5 of the November 2004

    Report

    ; INAC‟s response to the Auditor General‟s observations and recommendations Chapter 5

    of the November 2004 Report, entitled Education Action Plan, 2005

    ; The First Nations Education Action Plan, May 2005 addresses the Education Action Plan

    put forth by INAC in April 2005

    ; INAC‟s Evaluation of the PSE Program prepared by the Department Audit and

    Evaluation Branch

    ; The Aboriginal Institutes‟ Consortium prepared an examination of government policy

    entitled Aboriginal Institutions of Higher Education

    ; Michael Mendelson‟s Aboriginal Peoples and Postsecondary Education in Canada, 2006

    ; David Holmes‟ Redressing the Balance: Canadian University Programs in Support of

    Aboriginal Students prepared for the Association of Universities and Colleges (AUCC) in

    2006

    ; The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development report on

    Aboriginal post-secondary education, 2007

    ; “We are Mi‟kmaw Kina‟matnewey”, a research report submitted to MK and INAC, Jeff

    Orr 2004

    ; Program Policy Template for Post Secondary Education assistance

    Chapter II Rationale and Background

; The History of Aboriginal Education ………………………………………………….. 12

    ; Demographics

    - Basic Demographics…………………………………………………………..... 14

    - Socioeconomic Status of Canadian Aboriginals………………………………... 15

    ; Aboriginals in PSE ……………………………………………………………………... 19

    ; The Political Context: Main Issues and Challenges

    - The Jurisdiction Debate …………………………………………………………21

    - Sustainable Funding ……………………………………………………………. 22

    - Tracking and Accountability …………………………………………………… 24

    ; Barriers and Obstacles to a Higher Education

    - Access and Funding Barriers ……………………………………………………28

    - Bureaucratic Barriers …………………………………………………………... 30

    - Historical Barriers ……………………………………………………………… 31

    - Socio-cultural and Personal Barriers …………………………………………... 32

    - Geographic Barriers ……………………………………………………………. 34

    - Educational Barriers ……………………………………………………………. 34

    - Institutional Barriers …………………………………………………………… 36

Chapter III Best Practices

    ; Access and Attraction …………………………………………………………………. 41

    ; PSE Programming …………………………………………………………………….. 47

    ; Support ………………………………………………………………………………… 52

    ; Data Collection and Tracking …………………………………………………………. 58

    ; Communication, Partnership and Interagency Collaboration …………………………. 63

    Chapter IV Recommendations ……………………………………………………….. 72 - 76

    ; Improving access to PSE

    ; Promoting retention in PSE

    ; Increasing Aboriginal PSE funding

    ; Encouraging Data Collection and Tracking

    ; Collaboration and Communication

    References ………………………………………………………………………………… 77 - 80

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    Chapter 1 Setting the Policy Context

    There is an abundance of recent publications concerning policies for post-secondary education of Aboriginals. These studies have been conducted by a range of organizations including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Assembly of First Nations and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. These reports show remarkable consistency. Most of these studies describe the barriers to the participation of Aboriginals in post-secondary education and highlight various practices and initiatives that work to achieve higher rates of enrollment and retention. Most studies conclude with recommendations for achieving greater Aboriginal success. This chapter summarizes the major studies reviewed in making this report on Aboriginal post-secondary education.

A Synopsis of Key Reports

    “Gathering Strength” (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1995) was the first of a series of significant policy papers on Aboriginal peoples in post-secondary education (PSE). While PSE was not the sole focus in this report, the educational issues and goals for post-secondary education are addressed. This report affirms that Aboriginal people “want education to prepare them to participate fully in the economic life of their communities and in Canadian society”(Gathering Strength, page 433). It stated that post-

    secondary institutions (PSIs) can improve rates of PSE graduation by supporting Aboriginal culture through increased Aboriginal studies programs and recruitment of Aboriginal students and staff. The Commission also recommended that a standardized

    database be developed for collecting accurate information about Aboriginal PSE enrollment and retention. It describes programs that have achieved higher success rates for Aboriginal students and suggests that a partnership between PSIs, Aboriginal communities and the provinces be developed so that self-governance can be achieved in Aboriginal education.

    The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (2002) and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (2004) supported an examination and comparison of Aboriginal post-secondary education in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In these reports R.A. Malatest and Associates Ltd., outline the barriers to Aboriginal participation in PSE. It is found that all four countries share many of the same issues. The purpose of these qualitative studies was to highlight programs that have effectively increased the enrollment and completion rates of Aboriginals in PSE. They both confirm the need for continuing such initiatives. A major barrier that Aboriginal

    people are facing is insufficient funding from their band and the federal government.

    These students also experience under representation of Aboriginal people in post-secondary institutions, an insensitivity to their culture and mistrust for the education system. These papers also describe practices and initiatives that are being used to overcome these barriers. These practices are divided into five strategies, including access programs, community delivery initiatives, Aboriginal control of education, partnership between Aboriginal communities and mainstream educational institutions, as well as student support that addresses Aboriginal needs.

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    Together the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) conducted a review of the PSE Program (n.d.). In this report, the following areas of the PSE program were evaluated: goals and objectives, student needs, program authorities, transitional/preparatory programming, institutional support and funding. The common goal shared by AFN and INAC is to provide full financial assistance and support without limitations to promote greater participation of status Aboriginals in PSE and to close the 30-year gap. This report identifies who is eligible for PSSSP, as well as the programs and institutions in which students should be eligible to enroll. It addresses the specific areas where a change in funding would benefit Aboriginal students and institutions. It also indicates a fair approach to allocating PSSSP funding from INAC to regional offices to status Aboriginal students, suggesting the elimination of regional offices in the delivery method and Aboriginal participation in regional allocations and decision making processes.

     In 2004, the Auditor General of Canada prepared a report of Indian and Northern Affairs‟ Post-Secondary Student Support Program. In this report, five main points were shared. First, INAC did not know whether funding to First Nations was sufficient to meet the education standards it had set and whether the results achieved were in line with the resources provided. Second, the time estimated to close the gap between First Nations people and the general Canadian population had increased from 27 years to 28 years. Third, the Post-Secondary Student Support Program had weaknesses in its management and accountability framework, including unspecified roles and responsibilities for delivering the program and allocation methods that did not ensure equitable access for all First Nation students. The fourth point the Auditor General‟s report made was that there were discrepancies in the information provided by INAC about the way the program operated and the way in which it determined success. The final point made in the report was that the Department should continue its review of the program with consultation from First Nations, so that the programs‟ design, administration and accountability can be

    improved.

    In response to the Auditor General‟s observations and recommendations Chapter 5 of the November 2004 Report, INAC has prepared the Education Action Plan, 2005. To address the Auditor General‟s concerns, the five areas this Education Action Plan deals

    with are strategy and planning, roles and responsibilities, funding, accountability, and performance measurement, monitoring and reporting. INAC and First Nations have

    worked together to develop this management framework with the intent to enable Aboriginals to assume greater control of their education and to strengthen accountability of all stakeholders. This response demonstrates INAC‟s clear focus, dedication to strengthened relationships, and specific actions to promote the ongoing improvement of Aboriginal education.

    The First Nations Education Action Plan, May 2005 addresses the Education Action Plan put forth by INAC in April 2005. The vision of this Action Plan is to design and implement sustainable education systems under the complete control of First Nations. Understanding that First Nations have cultural, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics distinct from the overall Canadian population and that First Nations build

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    upon different community institutions and occupations, it has been recognized that Aboriginals do not often benefit from generic PSE programs and policies. This response

    identified that only Aboriginals can effectively incorporate these differences into programs and policies to address their specific needs in PSE. First Nations expressed the

    need to take immediate action on the initiatives put forth by this Action Plan to resolve long-standing challenges faced by Aboriginals and to improve Aboriginal education for future generations.

    In 2005, under the authority of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Department Audit and Evaluation Branch (DAEB) prepared an evaluation of the Post-Secondary Education (PSE) Program. Not having been formally evaluated since 1989, its primary purpose was to assess the current situation of the PSE program. This evaluation was also expected to compile information for the program from which to determine whether changes in the development of policy and programs were needed and to track the success of changes. An overview of the program indicated that the program remains relevant and has been successful in achieving its intended outcomes (improved educational attainment of First Nations and Inuit students and improved First Nations and Inuit contributions to First Nations, Inuit and Canadian society). Although expenditures have doubled between 1989-1990 and 2001-2002, requests for ISSP funding are continuously exceeding the available resources. Program participants advocate the continuation and increase of PSE funding because the guidelines for PSSSP students‟

    living allowances are 14 years out of date. One of the main issues identified as preventing

    the increase in PSSSP and ISSP funding was the data challenge. A lack of credible data has rendered INAC and Aboriginal administrators unable to fully address existing program issues. The distribution of PSE program funding, presently based on previous years‟ allocation, has contributed to the inability of funding to be based on actual costs. Establishing data collection and tracking systems and adopting national funding formulas will help to build a foundation on which the PSE program can allocate adequate funds to eligible Aboriginal students.

    In 2005, the Aboriginal Institutes‟ Consortium provided an examination of Aboriginal institutions and education. This study describes the benefits of Aboriginal-controlled post-secondary institutions. It explains the 1972 policy entitled Indian Control of Indian Education and the need for Aboriginal peoples to have increased control over their own education. It describes the lack of policy support for Aboriginal PSE institutions. In this report, the Aboriginal Institutes’ Consortium recommended that Canadian government policy grant Aboriginal controlled institutions the same authority as mainstream institutions. It argues that they should be allowed the authority to grant diplomas, degrees and certificates and should be receiving equitable funding. With this authority Aboriginal controlled PSIs can continue to support Aboriginal learners in a culturally sensitive environment.

     Michael Mendelson‟s article entitled Aboriginal Peoples and Postsecondary

    Education in Canada, commissioned by INAC in 2006 reviews the basic demographics of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, compares the PSE levels of Aboriginals with the general population, and discusses what would be required by the PSE system for

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    Aboriginal Canadians to achieve parity in educational attainment with the overall population. In this article, Mendelson reports that the Atlantic provinces have the greatest performance rates. The Aboriginal population in the Atlantic provinces is more likely to hold a non-university PSE certificate than the total population. This article also reveals

    that the completion of high school is the first step toward increasing educational attainment, which in turn improves socioeconomic status. Other actions discussed as

    contributing to a foundation for improving educational outcomes for Aboriginals include setting specific and quantitative milestones for Aboriginal educational achievement, collecting and tracking data to measure whether these quantitative goals are being achieved, and appointing an agency with the support of all parties to oversee the development of information sources and to monitor and report on results.

    David Holmes prepared a report called, “Redressing the Balance: Canadian University Programs in Support of Aboriginal Students” for the Association of Universities and Colleges (AUCC) in 2006. Like other reports, this paper describes lower levels of Aboriginal post-secondary attainment compared to non-Aboriginals. It also notes differences in educational attainment level between provinces. AUCC distributed a questionnaire to university level institutions across Canada to get an overview of Aboriginal programs provided by Canadian universities. From this questionnaire, AUCC has highlighted programs from across the country that have improved PSE for Aboriginal students.

    The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development also issued a report on Aboriginal post-secondary education in 2007. In this report, the committee acknowledged that Aboriginal education policies are in need of reform. It agrees that improvements need not be done only in the primary and secondary levels of education but also in post-secondary education. The Committee developed a number of recommendations to ensure that no Aboriginal student is denied post-secondary education because of a lack of funding. These recommendations include the development of a

    national database that reports successful initiatives used throughout Canada to support Aboriginal learners, the elimination of the 2 percent annual increase cap, the establishment of a tracking system for financial information, and the development of clear allocation methodologies for both PSSSP and ISSP funding.

Looking Within the Region

     In 2004, Jeff Orr and Coralie Cameron prepared “We Are Mi’kmaw

    Kina’matnewey” for Mi‟kmaw Kina‟matnewey and Indian Affairs Canada. This report

    was an assessment of the impact of the Mi‟kmaw Kina‟matnewey (MK) self-government

    agreement on the improvement of education for participating Mi‟kmaw communities. This report noted a 9.7 percent increase in PSE attainment for MK communities between 1991 and 2001. This increase in PSE success was attributed in part to initiatives PSIs adopted to attract and support First Nations post-secondary learners. The advocating for PSE programs that address the specific needs of MK communities has lead to a 15.2 percent increase in their labour force participation. This study shows that MK communities are supporting PSE learners to achieve personal and community

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    development.

    The Program Policy Template developed by MK for PSE assistance through Mi‟kmaw bands was also reviewed. This program policy outlines the criteria needed to

    qualify for financial assistance, the priorities for distribution, the amount of funding available to individual learners and the responsibilities of the students that receive funding. It includes an explanation of the appeal process and describes incentives that are available to Mi‟kmaw students that reach high levels of academic achievement. This

    report shows that Mi’kmaw communities are working towards achieving greater data collection and tracking of student funding.

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    Figure 1.1 Commonalities among Policy Studies related to First Nations PSE

     Need for Greater Data and Best Common Increased Control for Tracking Practices for Goals/ Funding First Nations Needed PSE Success Partnerships

    “Gathering Strength”, report of the Royal X X X X X Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1995

    Council of Ministers

    X X X X X Education, 2002

    Canada

    Millennium Scholarship X X X X X Foundation, 2004

    AFN and X X INAC, n.d.

    Aboriginal Institutes‟ X X Consortium, 2005

    Auditor

    General‟s X X X Report, 2004

    INAC Action X X X X Plan, 2005

    First Nations Action Plan, X X X X 2005

    INAC, Dep‟t of Audit and X X X Evaluation Branch, 2005

    Mendelson and X X INAC, 2006

    Program Policy X X Template

    Association of

    Universities X X X X and Colleges Canada, 2006

    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern X X X Development, 2007

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