A new national program aimed at improving the education outcomes of aboriginal students was launched in Regina today.
The First Nations University was the back-drop for a half a million dollar commitment to set up a peer support educator coaching program.
Three life insurance companies will finance it, while a national aboriginal achievement foundation called INDSPIRE, will administer it.
The idea behind the new program is to allow educators to share successful practices from across the country and integrate them into their own classrooms.
Educators are connected with coaches who have years of experience and proven track records of success.
This mentor program is the latest initiative to be administered by INDSPIRE, which has provided nearly 50 million dollars in bursaries and scholarships to 14 thousand aboriginal students since 2004. It is the single largest funder of aboriginal education outside the federal government.
INDSPIRE’S C.E.O., is Roberta Jamieson, a well-known First Nations leader who once vied for the top seat at the Assembly of First Nations, Jamieson says indigenous education is important to the future of Canada.
“It is the fastest growing demographic, least likely to graduate from high school. Our people, are they knowledgeable, are they smart, are they talented? You bet they are, but they also need investment in their future in their education, in their classrooms, with their educators….today.”
Dave Johnston is the president of Great West Life, London Life and Canada Life, which provided 500 thousand dollars to the new mentoring program today.
The companies have been a big supporter of the INDSPIRE program for years.
He says improving education achievement for Canada’s Indigenous people makes good business sense.
“You’re right. It aligns with our goals of future employment. Education is critical for developing the skills of people who will work for our companies in the future and we see that as a very important alignment.”
IND-SPIRE, combines the words indigenous and inspiration.
The new peer coaching program aims to accomplish that by taking indigenous education to a new level of excellence and relevance by drawing on fresh ideas, using proven models, and peer sharing to help aboriginal students complete their education.