Promoting Access to Higher Education for First Nations Students
In 1991, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) put into place a dedicated educational structure for First Nations: the Centre d’études amérindiennes, the precursor to the current Centre des Premières Nations Nikanite (CPNN). In pursuing objectives such as educating Aboriginal persons, creating programs tailored to their expectations, and conducting research, the CPNN also serves as a reception and consultation centre offering educational support and courses that bring out the values and traditions of First Nations. Since one of the centre's prime objectives is facilitating Aboriginal persons' academic success and access to higher education, it has developed significant expertise in specialized training, in particular, that involving a participatory approach. As a result, the CPNN promotes collaboration with various partners and values discussions to define, for example, the needs of First Nations persons and to target the teaching, learning, and coaching strategies best suited to their reality. That implies a shared concept of educational perspectives. These are just some of the ideas laid out in this article that enhances awareness of the importance of closing the educational gaps persisting between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal persons in Quebec. The article also familiarizes us with the issues associated with First Nations education.
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