Research is one of IAHLA’s core services. IAHLA’s research generally is intended to inform its activities, the efforts of its members, and to enhance knowledge regarding issues concerning Aboriginal adult and post-secondary education.
IAHLA research involves an effort to collect and share information to provide a better platform for planning, both at the institute and the provincial level. IAHLA research also contributes to the understanding that Aboriginal adult and post-secondary educational institutes have unique needs and achievements.
Aboriginal Health Bridging Tool Kit
This project was funded by the Aboriginal Health & Human Resource Initiative (AHHRI) and had two phases. The overarching goal of both Phases I and II is to support IAHLA member institutes who choose to deliver community-based health bridging programming. The development of this Toolkit fits with this goal by promoting seamless and more effective community-based post-secondary learning experiences for Aboriginal students.
The purpose of this Toolkit is to support the development and implementation of health related community-based programs between Indigenous Adult & Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) institutes, Aboriginal communities and Public Post-Secondary Institutions (PPSI). In doing so, the toolkit also aims to support the development of health practitioners and strategies and practices that merge and complement Western, mainstream health knowledge with Aboriginal traditional health knowledge.
Post-Secondary Education Partnership Agreement Tool Kit
Beginning in 2007, the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development began providing multi-year funding to support eleven public post-secondary institutions to develop, implement and evaluate Aboriginal Service Plans (ASPs). In response, the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), the University of Victoria (UVIC), and the Indigenous Adult & Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) initiated dialogue regarding how they could work together to facilitate the most effective possible use of the ASP funding in a way that would reflect their respective needs and common goals.
This Tool Kit provides background information, suggestions, and sample wording for the creation of agreements that reflect equitable and collaborative partnerships between post-secondary institutions, including Aboriginal, public and private institutions, and also including private industry organizations, and also including private industry organizations involved with training.
To read more about the Tool Kit and view the document, click here.
Honoured Graduates Thesis Papers
Data Collection Project
Since 2005, IAHLA has been working to collect and share substantive information about Aboriginal institutes in BC, and specifically has sponsored an annual survey of Aboriginal institutes in order to provide a better understanding of their unique needs, work, and achievements.
The ongoing IAHLA data collection effort focuses on five major elements:
- Personal Growth
- Cultural Development
- Wisdom Development
- Student Satisfaction
To read more about the project and view the final reports, click here.
Aboriginal-Controlled Post-Secondary Institutes in British Columbia: Issues, Costs, and Benefits
In February 2010, Juniper Consulting undertook a study at the request of the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) to: investigate overall funding issues that affect Aboriginal-controlled institutes; identify costs of operating Aboriginal-controlled institutes; and, highlight the benefits arising from Aboriginal-controlled institutes. The project also explored Aboriginal-controlled institutes’ importance to First Nations students and communities throughout the province of British Columbia (BC).
To read more about the study and view the report, click here.
Better Learner Assessment Research (2011)
In 2009, IAHLA received funding through the national Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) for the Better Leaner Assessment literacy project. This project, which will span two years, is intended to improve the accuracy and cultural sensitivity of learner academic assessment tools that are used to determine the literacy and essential skill levels of adult learners entering post-secondary institutions.
To read more about the project and view the final report, click here.
Aboriginal Student Transition Handbook (2010)
Despite many attempts by public institutions to increase the enrolment and success of Aboriginal learners, Aboriginal post-secondary enrolment and success rates still lag behind those of other Canadians.
This handbook was created to help answer some of the questions and to prepare Aboriginal learners on concerns and struggles of Indigenous students who are currently enrolled in, or have graduated from a post-secondary institution. This handbook covers a wide variety of topics including: finding suitable childcare in a urban setting; accessing affordable housing; and, meeting people in an unfamiliar city.
To read more on the handbook and to acquire a copy, click here.
Aboriginal-Controlled Post-Secondary Education in BC: A Place for Aboriginal Institutes (2008)
In July 2008, IAHLA and FNESC presented to the provincial government a policy background paper titled “Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in British Columbia: A Place for Aboriginal Institutes.” That paper provides information and six recommendations to advance the formal recognition of Aboriginal-controlled post-secondary institutes as a critical component of the British Columbia post-secondary system. The policy background paper has proven to be an effective and valuable document for facilitating consultations with Aboriginal-controlled institutes and First Nations communities throughout BC, and for advancing key issues with government and other relevant stakeholders.
The policy paper highlights the following recommendations:
- The Province of British Columbia should create policy and legislation that establishes a more integrated post-secondary education system n BC by recognizing the unique and critical role of Aboriginal institutes.
- Recognizing the need for academic quality assurance, which will facilitate student mobility, efficiency of the system, as well as mutual accountability, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) will work with Aboriginal institutes to create an effective and thorough quality assurance system based upon high standards and rigorous review.
- The Province of British Columbia should support the establishment of effective, respectful partnerships between Aboriginal institutes and public post-secondary institutions through policy development, support for research of best practices, and the promotion of dialogue and exchange. These effects should include mechanisms for a widespread sharing of expertise and resources to enhance the effectiveness of the new integrated post-secondary education system.
- Aboriginal representatives and the provincial government should engage the federal government in a review of the respective contributions and roles of Canada, BC, and Aboriginal Nations within a integrated BC post-secondary education system.
- Aboriginal institutes in British Columbia should have access to funding from the Province of British Columbia that will strengthen their programs and enhance their contributions to an integrated provincial post-secondary education system. In particular, funding should be provided to support Aboriginal institutes in developing their capacity as post-secondary programming “hubs”, enabling them to develop specific expertise in areas of critical importance to Aboriginal communities and peoples.
- The “Provincial Education Number” (PEN) utilized by the Ministry of Education and soon to be used by the public post-secondary institutions should be used throughout the new integrated mechanism will ensure that the resulting data is comparable.
Since the release of the policy background paper, IAHLA, FNESC, and their education partners have been considering ways to move ahead with the important recommendations included, and to ensure that the vision of Aboriginal institutes is recognized in a meaningful way. For example, IAHLA, FNESC, and the provincial government are currently working to achieve progress in terms of Aboriginal post-secondary education data collection and sharing, a recognition of IAHLA institutes outside of the Private Career Training Authority (PCTIA) model, and community-based Adult Basic Education (ABE) delivery.
To read the document, click here.
New Training for First Nations Small System Water Operators
For the past several years, IAHLA and FNESC have been leading an effort to use computer simulations as the basis for training new First Nations Water Operations. Since the water system disasters in Walkerton and Kaschewan, the federal government has required that every water system operator be fully trained and certified. However, in existing training programs, in-class instruction is typically limited and often does not allow for extensive hands-on practice or mentoring.
To address such concerns, the new program that was developed uses 3D simulations to enable the trainee operators to experience real-life scenarios and take corrective actions – practice that would be both disruptive and difficult to implement in real-life situations.
In advancing this initiative, IAHLA has enjoyed a strong partnership with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Thompson Rivers University, and the University of Victoria, which as ensured the necessary funding, course content, and multimedia facilities. The project, managed under the guidance of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, employs six First Nations interns who are creating a framework and developing capacity for the development of further training and educational products.
Parental Encouragement and Post-Secondary Education
In 2008/2009, IAHLA, FNESC, and the FNSA were successful in a proposal to the Millennium Scholarship Foundation for a project that is intended to address the challenge of encouraging more First Nations learners to access and succeed in post-secondary education settings. Specifically, the project was built upon a well-established infrastructure to share information related to career and education planning.
The initiative was intended to ensure that First Nations parents are more confident and able to support their children in this critical area of education.
Specifically, this project involved the enhancement of FNESC’s existing education planning toolkit, which included a collection of tools to assist individuals who are working with First Nations students in the area of career and education planning. The resource includes information about ways to help student assess their goals and skills, as well as information about secondary school course planning, applying to post-secondary institutions, and preparing students for the school-to-work transition.
Through this project, the information was revised to meet the specific needs of parents. That information was then shared through workshops offered to local parent groups. The First Nations Parents Club offered the workshops on a first-come-first-serve basis in as many locations as possible, reflecting funding availability.
The general topics addressed in the workshop included the following:
- The importance of encouraging children to stay-in-school and consider higher learning opportunities
- The need for early and careful course planning to maintain a range of post-secondary options
- The importance of financial planning for post-secondary education
- How to identify and access scholarships and bursaries
- How to support students in transitions to post-secondary settings
- What parents can do to help their children while they are in a higher learning setting