Oct 12, 2017
Posted in: Adult Basic Education
By Brian Vass
On June 6, 2017, the Provincial Auditor of Saskatchewan Ms. Judy Ferguson released a report which stated that Saskatchewan needs to do more to engage First Nations and Métis students. This was because of the gap in high school graduation rate between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students. Three years earlier, in 2013, graduation rates were 74.8% overall, compared to 37.4% for self-declared First Nations and Métis students. In 2015, the high school graduation rates in Saskatchewan increased to 40.1% for First Nations and Métis students and 84.3% for non-Indigenous students.
During the same period, completion rates for Dumont Technical Institute Adult Basic Education students were higher than those for Indigenous students in Saskatchewan high schools at 62.0% in 2013 and 65.4% in 2015.
Dumont Technical Institute, the adult basic education and skills training branch of Gabriel Dumont Institute is a place where many Métis students come to finish their high school. It is a special place whose core beliefs include “Showing compassion and genuine concern for the accomplishments of all learners.” The students all come with high expectations. Some want to go on to University or Technical Institutes. Others need their grade 12 as a ticket to a better job.
We asked students in the Dumont Technical Institute Adult Basic Education Level 4 Program (Grade 12 or high school equivalent) in Saskatoon about their views and experiences in the program. All respondents indicated that Dumont Technical Institute has opened a whole new door to the world for them after having left school before graduating. As Justine Roy noted, “DTI pushes us, as well as makes us feel welcome . . . I focus more in class than I ever did. . . The classroom gives me a feeling of comfort. I am not judged.”
Tara Campbell is one of her classmates. She believes that in the short time she has been at Dumont Technical Institute, it has done wonders for her confidence. She chalks it up to the atmosphere in the classrooms. “The classrooms are amazing. Everyone gets involved, eager to help one another. The instructors are amazing, super easy to talk to. They are very patient and understanding.”
There is probably one aspect of Dumont Technical Institute that gets missed by the casual observer, but which is not overlooked by the students. Tammy McLeod summarizes it this way: “I get to learn my culture during the process of learning everyday subjects.”
It means a lot to connect with like-minded people, when most of a student’s time before coming to school can be spent at home. Tammy continued, “Before coming to Dumont Technical Institute, I wasn’t very social. Since being here, I have made new friends that I can relate to. I enjoy being back to school being social with others.”
All the students are already making plans for their graduation and what they would like to do after completing their Adult Basic Education Level 4 Program at Dumont Technical Institute. We are proud of their progress and the commendable job they do.