SaskPolytech updates its Indigenous strategy
- EFN Staff | December 12, 2018
The Indigenous Strategy for the Saskatchewan Polytechnic, aimed to create awareness and education on culture and history, was refreshed with amendments and launched this year.
Jason Seright, the Director of Indigenous Strategy with the Sask. Polytech, said the first Indigenous Strategy was done in 2009 and since then, they have decided it was time to refresh their previous strategy.
“After 10 years, we figured we should do a refreshed and we felt that we accomplished something and we needed to change our focus and priorities,” he said. “Prior to the refresh, we had gone out into the community and internally as well, with our students and staff, and engaged with close to 800 people through face to face conversations and online surveys. We some feedback on our old plan and also things that we can be doing better and things that are working well.”
The name of the strategy plan’s theme is ‘miyo wahkohtowin’ which means ‘good relations’. It’s not just Sask. Polytech having good relations but it’s also within the community, their instructors having good relations with their students. Seright and other Sask. Polytech staff worked on the Indigenous strategy for a year and a half and released it this past June. The timeframe for the strategy plan is a 5-year plan from 2018-2023.
“It’s about cultural awareness training where that wasn’t done in the past, it’s about educating our instructors, staff and our own leadership more about Indigenous culture and history,” said Seright. “We’ve seen that our educational institutes in the past haven’t done a good job with that, so now we made it mandatory that all of our staff to have cultural awareness training. All of our 150+ programs have Indigenous content. Whereas before, our Indigenous culture and history have sort have been absent from a lot of the work that’s been done in the educational institute and we’re wanting to include it so more people are aware of Indigenous history and culture.”
Seright added the lack of knowledge creates some gaps from what people understand and not understand and felt those are some key opportunities for Sask. Polytech being an educational institute to provide that education and training.
The education institute has seen a lot of progress over the last 4-5 years where they’ve gone from a 50% to a 60% graduate rate.
“Last year, we saw 791 graduates. We seen a 30% increase in our students that are self-declared . There were 3,669 Indigenous students compared to 3,280 five years ago,” he said. “We’re currently at 7% representative workforce. We’re doing a good job with data and tracking that, we’ve seen progress over the last number of years.”
Seright said the Indigenous strategy plan wouldn’t have been possible without the involvement from the Indigenous community, the institutions president, vice-presidents, the deans, the various leadership groups and the instructors who have been very keen and motivated to refresh the strategy.