News / Calgary

Spike in school completion rates expected for FNMI students: Eggen

Eggen said although an upward trend is good, it’s still not where he’d like to see FNMI student completion rates

Eggen said he eventually hopes to see FNMI student completion rates on par with other students.

Lucie Edwardson / Metro

Eggen said he eventually hopes to see FNMI student completion rates on par with other students.

Alberta’s education minister said rising high school completion rates—specifically for First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) students— encourages him, and he anticipates numbers to remain on an upward trajectory. 

In the 2014-15 school year 76.5 per cent of all students completed high school in three years, while only 50.2 per cent of FNMI students did the same in three years. 

David Eggen, minister of education for Alberta, said although numbers have slowly been creeping up over the last few years (in 2010-11 they were 42.3 per cent for FNMI students), he expects to see big jumps in numbers from last school year and into this one.  

“We’re seeing quite significant increases and we fully expect to see more because of adjustments we’ve made in regards to being more flexible in high school and credit initiatives we’ve set up with colleges around the province,” he said. 

Eggen said although an upward trend is good, it’s still not where he’d like to see FNMI student completion rates. He said programs like the Calgary Board of Educations grad coach program for FNMI students are seeing positive results.

“It’s not acceptable, but the trend is up right. There is a range of best practices that are starting to pay off,” he said. “We still have a ways to go with a 50 per cent graduation rate. In my long range business plan I have a goal to have those numbers be the same, right, so that there is no differentiation over time.”

Right now, Eggen said he’s focused on the things they’re doing right to bring numbers up. He said in general, the success of our education system is about three things: attendance, graduating and moving on to post-secondary. 

“If I can see upwards trends in each of those three areas then probably we’ll have a better-educated population that’s more suited to meet the needs of a more diverse economy and that is more resilient,” he said.