Graduation rates for Indigenous students are rising in B.C., but closing the education outcome gaps that still exist requires more attention, says auditor general Carol Bellringer. (Black Press Media files)

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Graduation rates for Indigenous students are rising in B.C., but closing the education outcome gaps that still exist requires more attention, says auditor general Carol Bellringer.

READ MORE: Province invests $2.7 million in Indigenous teacher education training

An audit report Tuesday found the percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools hit its highest level ever last year at 70 per cent. During the same period, 86 per cent of non-Indigenous students graduated from Grade 12.

“Overall, while there has been improvement, the system is still not supporting Indigenous students to have the same success that non-Indigenous students enjoy,” Bellringer said during a conference call with reporters. “Indigenous students on average are still not doing as well.”

Bellringer said the audit is an update from a 2015 report that called on the Education Ministry to address differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in reading, writing and math assessments, graduation rates and feelings of safety at schools.

The 34-page report says that despite posting the highest graduation rate ever “there is still a 16 per cent gap between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students.”

It also says ”Indigenous students are still more likely than non-Indigenous students to report not feeling safe in school, and to report higher rates of feeling bullied, teased and picked on.”

The audit makes 11 recommendations to the Education Ministry, including more collaboration between education officials and Indigenous leaders to develop strategies to close the outcome gap for Indigenous students.

“That’s the key to the final solution, if you will, to the root cause and without that kind of a strategy piece, you’re really just trying (to fix) parts and not looking at it holistically,” Bellringer said.

The Education Ministry says in a response to the report that much progress needs to be made, but the results have been compelling since 2013-2014 when the Indigenous graduation rate was 62 per cent.

Dirk Meissner , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local war hero ceberating 100 years of life

Derek Beningfield records his grandfather’s history ahead of his 100th birthday on July 14

Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Sasha Sefter says farewell to our readers

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

RANCH MUSINGS: When the sun shines, kids and calves

It is not easy to witness the birth of a calf especially in a herd on a spacious pasture

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read