OTTAWA – Canada’s universities have adopted a set of principles outlining their shared commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for Indigenous students and fostering reconciliation across Canada. Closing the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is a long-term core priority for Universities Canada. Over the past year, the Association’s Board of Directors and member universities developed the 13 principles to guide Canada’s universities as they continue work to enhance access and success for Aboriginal students in higher education.
To achieve this goal, the new Principles on Indigenous Education recognize the importance of greater indigenization of university curricula and of Indigenous education leadership within the university community, as well as the essential work of creating resources, spaces and approaches that promote dialogue and intercultural engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. The principles also highlight the need to provide greater exposure and knowledge for non-Indigenous students on the realities, histories, cultures and beliefs of Indigenous people in Canada.
In the spirit of the June 2 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, these principles focus on the central role that postsecondary education must play in the reconciliation process.
Their release coincides with today’s meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada in Yellowknife, where an Aboriginal Educators Symposium is being held to focus on improving Aboriginal education outcomes across Canada.
“The principles released today acknowledge the unique needs of Indigenous communities across Canada, and their goals of autonomy and self-determination,” says David Barnard, chair of Universities Canada and president of the University of Manitoba. “As understanding of First Nation, Métis and other Indigenous cultures is integrated across our campuses, real and sustained change will occur in our institutions and in Canadian society.”
In launching the new principles, Universities Canada President Paul Davidson noted the power of education to transform the futures of individuals, their families and communities. “We are pleased to launch these principles on the eve of Canada Day, which is not only a time for celebration but a time for reflecting on who we are as a country and who we want to become through meaningful reconciliation.”
Canada’s universities currently offer 350 programs and resources specifically designed for Indigenous students. These include academic courses, outreach and financial assistance, as well as programs and physical spaces where students can find counselling, support and connection to Indigenous culture.
Read the Universities Canada’s new Principles on Indigenous Education.
Read op-ed “Universities will help reset relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people“, published in the Globe and Mail.
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