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.

Just Posted

Canadian car crash victims to be honoured at Kelowna event

Not-for-profit “One Crash is Too Many” will be hosting event at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Orchard Parking Mall lot

Relocation of new West Kelowna firehall under fire by Lakeview Residents

A Lakeview resident has started an online petition

Accused Lake Country wife-killer going to trial after more than three years

Lambertus Westervelt, 63, was charged in April 2019 for allegedly killing his wife in June 2016

Protest planned against Kelowna RCMP’s high unfounded sexual assault numbers

Kelowna RCMP deemed almost 40 per cent of sexual assault reports as “unfounded” in 2018

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Cirque-inspired Nutcracker sleigh rides into outdoor Okanagan theatre

Caravan Farm Theatre stages unique re-imaginging of beloved Christmas classic

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

Kamloops woman fatally hit by truck was a TRU employee

The investigation into the Nov. 15 pedestrian fatality near Thompson Rivers University continues

EDITORIAL: When confrontation replaces dialogue

A number of recent comments making news headlines in Canada have shown… Continue reading

Sicamous’ second cannabis store set to open

Sicamous Trading Company designed to fit with community’s love for nature and adventure

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Kelowna team wins Summerland junior curling tournament

Okanagan teams will be competing to qualify for B.C. Winter Games and B.C. U18 Championships

Most Read