On June 26, 2008, leaders from Ontario’s postsecondary education sector gathered in Toronto for a presentation by George. E. Lafond, formerly the Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan. The event was an important first step in the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s research program into postsecondary education for Aboriginal individuals.
Drawing upon his extensive experience in Aboriginal education, Mr. Lafond highlights a ‘wish list’ of research areas important to understanding the issues facing First Nations and Métis access to postsecondary education. These include:
- Monitoring educational outcomes for Aboriginal students throughout primary, secondary and postsecondary studies;
- identifying the ‘postsecondary cohort’ within Aboriginal populations, and monitoring the quality and efficacy of their educational pathways through secondary school and into university or college;
- assessing how best to facilitate access and persistence for the ‘lost cohort’—students who do not progress into higher education; and
- evaluating strategies and programs for improving educational outcomes and achievement for Aboriginal individuals in postsecondary education.
Mr. Lafond frames his comments in the context of the ongoing process of reconciliation between Canadian governments, institutions and individuals and Aboriginal communities. He states that education is an integral part of this process, vital to ensuring the social and economic success of Aboriginal individuals. However, Mr. Lafond emphasizes that postsecondary education must recognize and support the uniqueness of Aboriginal knowledge, language and culture to ensure it adequately supports and encourages meaningful reconciliation and advancement.
The Council wishes to thank Mr. Lafond and those who attended the presentation.
Click here to download Mr. Lafond’s speaking notes.
Click here to read more about Mr. Lafond.