Persévérance scolaire des jeunes autochtones

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    Promotion of aboriginal culture: Essential for Aboriginal Youth School Persistence

    22 projects from the Fonds pour la persévérance scolaire des jeunes autochtones (FPSJA) have been evaluated, by Natasha Blanchet-Cohen from Concordia University. The purpose was to identify the Fund’s impact and to expand the knowledge about strategies to adopt by the organisations, in order to enhance the aboriginal youth school persistence. The first part of the report evaluates the activities categories and their impact. The research also highlights the importance of the promotion of culture in the aboriginal youth school persistence projects, the following fictitious example illustrate this context:

    Tamina, an aboriginal youth, is living in an aboriginal community, surrounded by her family and friends. In her community, they no longer talk the ancestors’ language and the aboriginal culture is lost. The white culture takes much more place within the community, contributing to the loss of ancestors’ knowledge. Tamina and the other youth have a difficult time to fit in the schools outside the community. They would like to be more assertive with their culture but in harmony with the surrounding modern context. Paul, a young intervener, at the community center attended by Tamina, is concerned by the reality lived by these aboriginal youth. He would like to implement a project that would answer their need to influence modernity and highlight their culture and their language.

    As suggested by this example, the project’s promoters believe in ‘’reinforcing the sense of identity, that it can have a positive impact on their development and academic path, while helping them to believe in their own potential’’. The research indicates that the promotion of culture answers the elders’ need to pass on their cultural knowledge, giving the youth back the pride to be aboriginal.
    We also learn in the evaluation report that the success perception may be different in the aboriginal culture. The report indicates that it could be appropriate to rethink the academic success by adapting it to the aboriginal culture, and to take it into account when comes the moment to evaluate an aboriginal youth. To meet this challenge, the research team suggest a holistic approach, which can better meet the oral tradition of passing on the aboriginal culture knowledge.
    The evaluation of the projects revealed three other types of activities, which can contribute to improve the aboriginal youth school persistence. The researchers identified the external support for academic learning and family support for academic success, leadership and commitment of students, and youth entrepreneurship.
    The evaluation also focused on the school persistence factors, management and accompaniment of the projects, the partnerships as well as the reinforcement of local capacities reinforcement and projects. These subjects will be discussed in future articles, which will be published within the next few weeks.
    Visit the web page « Projects Evaluation » to download the evaluation report.

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