Boosting aboriginal grads

School District 22 is making efforts to boost the number of aboriginal graduates after a fall in the numbers. One way is through the district's popular trades program.

Statistics show that of the aboriginal students who started Grade 8 in the 2010/11 year, only 62 per cent graduated in 2015/16.

They also show that more females, 71 per cent, than males, 56 per cent, got their Grade 12.

“Our aboriginal education department looked at where all those students have gone and what have they done,” said Kelly Smith, district board chairperson. “By the time they get to Grade 10, they find school is not for them.”

A report to the Vernon district board suggests that some males may be dropping out because they can find work and make a decent wage which, at that age, is seen as more important than finishing school.

Smith said aboriginal support workers would work to get the young men through to Grade 12.

“One of the things that has made a difference to students in Grade 10 is going through the fabulous trades program.”

Ten students spoke to the board Wednesday night, explaining the dual credit system that allowed them to get their grades but also some credit towards an apprenticeship.

The long list includes apprenticeships in education, the automotive, electrical and welding industries and others.

“This is available for aboriginal students and our aboriginal education department and career program will ensure students know of the program.”

More Vernon News