Why Aboriginal education is our business

Why Aboriginal education is our business

Some aboriginal Canadians face an alarming reality. They make up the youngest and fastest growing segment of our population, and yet many still have significantly less education than the general population. Recent studies, including a report from the Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards, suggest that, if current lower educational trends continue for aboriginal people, Canada could lose billions of dollars in productivity. The centre estimates that more than $170-billion could be added to Canada’s economy by 2026 if natives achieved the same education levels as other Canadians. The statistics speak for themselves. The latest census data show that, in 2006, more than 40 per cent of aboriginal Canadians 15 and older did not earn a high-school diploma. This was almost double the percentage for non-aboriginal young people. And while 33 per cent of the non-aboriginal population had a university degree, the number for aboriginal Canadians was 12 per cent. This education gap is something that should concern all Canadians. Education is critical to aboriginal citizens for the same reasons it’s essential for other Canadians: It inspires young people. It opens doors. It provides hope for a better future. And yet, without higher education attainment, many aboriginal Canadians will continue to face the prospect of lower incomes and higher unemployment.

JOURNAL: The Globe and Mail
VOLUME: 21 June 2011
PUBLICATION DATE: 2011
LOCATION: Canada