Opening doors and creating pathways for Indigenous teachers

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More British Columbia students will benefit from the Traditional Knowledge and culture of Indigenous peoples with the expansion of teacher education seats.

A $2.7-million investment in Indigenous teacher education training was announced by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT). The investment directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #62 that calls upon governments to fund post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.

Indigenous teachers are under-represented in B.C.’s education system. Currently, between 4% and 6% of teacher education graduates are Indigenous.

“Investing in Indigenous educators has been a call to action for generations,” said Mark. “It empowers Indigenous students to see themselves in their teachers, and Indigenous teachers to continue to act as role models across the education ecosystem. All communities benefit when we embrace our diversity.”

The funding includes $1.4 million toward teacher education seats for Indigenous students. In addition, NVIT will receive $730,000 for two master of education cohorts in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC).

An additional $600,000 to integrate Indigenous knowledge and culture into the B.C. teacher education curriculum will provide $50,000 to eight institutions for the B.C. Public Teacher Education Programs and $200,000 for the Association of B.C. Deans of Education to support co-ordination and collaboration across the institutions.


Rob Fleming, Minister of Education –

“Education is a key part of our commitment to true and lasting reconciliation, and all B.C. students need role models to help them on their journey. This investment in Indigenous teacher education builds on the work we’ve done to date to help ensure all students can benefit from First Nations’ languages, traditions, perspectives and history in the classroom.”

Ken Tourand, president and CEO, NVIT –

“NVIT’s five founding First Nations bands had a vision to improve the quality of life of Indigenous peoples through Indigenous education. Its very inception is reconciliation in action. This new funding provides an opportunity to advance this vision to include training future B.C.’s K-12 teachers. NVIT’s learning environment and curriculum are embedded with Indigenous knowledge and ways of being. Ideally, future generations will benefit from classrooms and curriculum infused with the principles of respect, relevance, reciprocity and responsibility first identified in 2001 by Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt.”

Quick Facts:

  • Budget 2019 committed to investing in a new K-12 curriculum that makes sure all children in British Columbia are taught about Indigenous culture and history.
  • In 2017-18, the Ministry of Education provided $260,000 to NVIT and UBC to develop and expand Indigenous teacher education programs, and invested $65,000 to create 15 new Indigenous teacher education seats at Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan campus.

Learn More:

Aboriginal Education in B.C.:

Teacher education programs in B.C.: