BURNABY – The Vancouver Board of Education has re-signed the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement with the Musqueam Nation after 16 years. This agreement supports development of Aboriginal culture within the Vancouver School Board’s curriculum in order to create a sense of belonging for Aboriginal students and to create a foundation upon which they can succeed and move forward with their education.
The parties agree to create a learning environment where First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students are safe and respected and a shared ownership and mutual respect is recognized in supporting the diverse needs of these students.
“I am a strong believer in the importance of relationships as it builds success. In doing so, the enhancement agreement will benefit all students by creating a shared sense of community for all,” said Warren Williams, President of CUPE Local 15.
There are approximately 2100 Aboriginal students enrolled in the Vancouver School District and 62000 students in British Columbia. Of those, 87% of Aboriginal students are enrolled in the public school system.
“16 years ago when the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement was last signed, of 18 Aboriginal students enrolled in Britannia Secondary, only one was on pace to graduate high school. Today, Aboriginal students have a 99 per cent graduation rate. This speaks to the monumental importance of having such an effective agreement in place,” said Williams.
However, there is still work to be done. Only 4% of Aboriginal students go on to enroll in university and this renewed agreement seeks to ensure that Aboriginal students achieve increased academic success and participate to the fullest extent from kindergarten through the completion of Grade 12.