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.
In response to this challenge, IAHLA and the University of Victoria’s Office of Community-Based Research and the Office of Indigenous Affairs jointly conducted comprehensive, community-based research to investigate the transition of Aboriginal students from Aboriginal-controlled adult and post-secondary institutes to public post-secondary institutions. The research focused on the history and structures of Aboriginal controlled institutes, and articulated the role of the institutes in providing culturally-distinct programming and in preparing Aboriginal students to transition to the public post-secondary system.
The research found that IAHLA institutes play a vital role in providing Aboriginal students with a solid foundation through holistic models of education that incorporate Aboriginal epistemology and ontology. These institutes allow Aboriginal students to learn in supportive, safe, community-based environments where students can access support services offered by family, friends, culture and community.
Based upon the transition project research findings, three separate pilot projects are now being funded. Those pilot projects, which were designed through roundtable discussions, are meant to enhance and support the work that is already being done at Aboriginal institutes in BC. The pilot projects will focus on: Reciprocal Institutional Orientation Program; Post-Secondary Survival Skills Resources; and Experimental Learning Projects at Aboriginal-Controlled Institutes.