Sunday, November 23, 2014

Schooling, job stats find gap remains

Recently-released statistics show there continues to be a gap between aboriginals and non-aboriginals when it comes to education and employment.
Statistics Canada hosted an open house focused on “The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS)” last Thursday at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.

The survey provided insights into factors associated with staying in or dropping out of school, how educational background can affect work experiences, and what plans for further schooling might be among First Nations’ people aged 18-44 living off-reserve, explained Marie-France Germain of the Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division of Statistics Canada.
The survey revealed 72 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 42 percent of Inuit, and 77 percent of Métis aged 18-44 had a high school diploma or equivalent in 2012.
The 2011 National Household Survey revealed that 89 percent of the non-aboriginal population had at least a high school diploma.
The graduation rate was even higher in Ontario, where 75 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 62 percent of Inuit, and 80 percent of Métis aged 18-44 had a high school diploma or equivalent in 2012.
Here, 91 percent of the non-aboriginal population had at least a high school diploma.
The survey also showed that for many, dropping out of school did not necessarily mean the end of their studies. A total of 14 percent of off-reserve First Nations’ people, 15 percent of Inuit, and nine percent of Métis had left school at least once before returning to obtain a high school diploma.
The main reason cited for returning was that they “realized the value of an education/wanted a diploma.”
Both of these groups are considered to be high school “completers,” as opposed to “leavers” who left high school and never returned.
When asked why they did or did not complete high school, “completers” had good grades, participated in activities outside of school hours, read books during their last year in school, and has close friends who thought completing school was important and looked forward to furthering their education beyond high school.
They also felt happy and safe at school, received support from school staff, and had at least one parent who completed high school.
“Leavers,” meanwhile, often skipped classes, arrived late for classes, changed schools frequently, and had siblings who dropped out of school.
Reasons for “leavers” not completing high school varied. Men reported having a desire to work, money problems, school problems, or a lack of interest as reasons for not graduating.
Women most commonly reported their reason as pregnancy or child care responsibilities.
However, the survey also showed some “leavers” still ended up completing post-secondary training.
The survey revealed that among “completers” in Canada, 54 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 45 percent of Inuit, and 56 percent of Métis aged 18-44 completed post-secondary school.
By comparison, 69 percent of non-aboriginal “completers” completed post-secondary school.
Among “leavers,” 16 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 12 percent of Inuit, and 16 percent of Métis aged 18-44 completed post-secondary school.
A total of 17 percent of non-aboriginal “leavers” completed post-secondary school.
The rate was even higher in Ontario, where 56 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 51 percent of Inuit, and 56 percent of Métis aged 18-44 completed post-secondary school, as did 17 percent of the non-aboriginal population who were “leavers.”
The study also found that high school “completers” most often completed a university degree, a college diploma from a one- or two-year program, or a trades certificate.
“Leavers,” on the other hand, most often finished a trades certificate or a college diploma from a program of less than one year.
Statistics showed that “completers” were more likely to be employed than “leavers.”
The survey revealed that among “completers” in Canada, 72 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 71 percent of Inuit, and 80 percent of Métis aged 18-44 were employed, compared to 79 percent of non-aboriginal “completers.”
Among “leavers,” just 47 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 44 percent of Inuit, and 61 percent of Métis aged 18-44 were employed, compared to 64 percent of non-aboriginal “leavers.”
The picture was similar amongst Ontario “completers,” where 73 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, 74 percent of Inuit, and 77 percent of Métis aged 18-44 were employed, compared to 77 percent of non-aboriginal “completers.”
Among Ontario “leavers,” 45 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve and 59 percent of Métis aged 18-44 were employed, compared to 59 percent of non-aboriginal “leavers” (there were no Inuit “leavers” surveyed).
The reasons unemployed peopled reported for not being able to work included a shortage of jobs; lack of education and training; work inexperience; no transportation available for First Nations’ people living off-reserve; not knowing where to look for work (Inuit only); and not knowing what type of job they wanted (Métis only).
But the survey also showed that many people surveyed value education, and whether they were “completers” or “leavers,” 65 percent of First Nations’ people living off-reserve planned to return to school to take further training, as did 55 percent on Inuit and 59 percent of Métis.
The APS is a national survey of First Nations’ people living off-reserve, Métis, and Inuit aged six and over.
More findings from the 2012 APS, which also collected information on health, language, income, housing, and mobility, will be released later this year.
To access information on the APS, visit www.statscan.gc.ca/aps

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