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Less than 50% of Indigenous students graduate from provincial schools, report says

Indigenous graduation rates are sliding in the province, according to Saskatchewan’s provincial auditor.

Based on the 2023 report released on Tuesday by Tara Clemett, less than 50 per cent of Indigenous students graduate Grade 12 within three years of beginning Grade 10.

“A strong start to education develops skills needed to be successful in school and life,” Clemett said. “Providing Indigenous students with opportunities to cultivate a solid understanding and foundation in reading, math, and science gives students the skills and knowledge to graduate.”

The Ministry of Education’s Inspiring Success: First Nations and Métis Pre-K–12 Education Policy Framework program has not garnered as much success as deemed necessary.

They have updated it with different initiatives since the inception in 2018 to help increase the graduation rate, but these rates remained relatively unchanged between 2018 and 2021.

“At the end of the day, having a high school diploma is more likely to allow you to, I guess, seek and obtain most employment opportunities later in life and hence, probably reduce the disparity between employment earnings between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people,” Clement said.

The report shows that 44.7 per cent of Indigenous students, compared to 88.7 per cent of non-Indigenous students, are graduating within three years of beginning Grade 10.

Clement has several suggestions laid out in the report, including expanding measures and targets for Indigenous students’ academic achievements, requiring enhanced reporting from school divisions on student success, and determining action plans to address root causes of underperforming initiatives related to Indigenous student success.

“Setting additional measures and targets that focus on improving Indigenous student achievement (such as numeracy, literacy, attendance, and Indigenous-student feedback and engagement assessments) would allow the Ministry to analyze relevant data and identify improvements to share with school divisions,” Clemett said.


Indigenous student enrollment and program retention at post-secondary institution rates have both been on the decline since 2019, falling by nearly 30 per cent from 3,203 in 2019 to 2,286 in 2021, according to the report.

“Reducing disparities in educational outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students will support more equitable outcomes in attaining higher education,” Clemett said in a news release.

The report recommends that Sask. Polytech “expand performance measure targets to evaluate whether its strategies support Indigenous student success."

It found there are no targets around Indigenous student enrolment and program retention rates with both measures declining since 2019.

It was also suggested that the school conduct ongoing Indigenous community engagement and consultation that would encourage enrollment and report those results, as well as verify the Indigenous identity of staff in Indigenous-designated positions beyond only self-identification.

The auditor’s report said it was also found that Sask. Polytech did identify barriers to Indigenous student success and also implemented several initiatives aimed at increasing student success, but reiterated that further areas need to be improved.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Advanced Education said Sask. Polytech has its full support to advance its Indigenous Student Success Strategy.

“The ministry appreciates the Provincial Auditor’s report and the four recommendations that will improve processes that support Indigenous student outcomes, and will continue to work with Saskatchewan Polytechnic to fully address any outstanding recommendations," the ministry read. Top Stories

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