Anishinabek First Nations have about 26,000 students who attend schools on and off reserves. Of these, more than 4 in 5 live off reserve and attend provincial schools off reserve. Roughly 2,000 students live on reserve but attend off reserve provincial schools. Another 2,000 students who live on reserve attend schools run by First nations. In other words, 1 student in 10 attends a school operated by Anishinaabe.
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The provincially run schools do not adequately reflect Anishinaabe culture, language and heritage. A 2012–13 survey showed that 51% of provincial elementary schools and 41% of provincial high schools provided no aboriginal education opportunities. They did not offer relevant professional development for teachers or cultural support programs. (First Nation, Metis and Inuit Education: Overcoming Gaps in Provincially Funded Schools, 2013)
Across Canada, only 36% of First Nations students living on reserve graduate from high school – half the Canadian graduation rate of 72%. Part of the explanation lies in an attendance rate lower than the Canadian average. Improving attendance and raising graduation rates will help more Anishinaabe to succeed in college or university, help them find rewarding work, and build better lives and communities. For both First Nations people and Canadians, a university degree leads to employment rates of 75% and more